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Lawrence loses fire district seat; Cochrane maintains his

By Staff | Nov 6, 2018

Two incumbents were vying to retain their seats on the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District’s Board of Commissioners heading into Election Day, but only one candidate was able to accomplish it.

Incumbent and Commissioner Alfred N. “Mike” Lawrence lost his Seat 1 to challenger Richard P. McCurry once the final votes were tallied for the Nov. 6 General Election. Meanwhile, incumbent and Commissioner Bruce Cochrane maintained a hold on Seat 2 against challenger Andrew S. Barron.

“Mike’s been a commissioner for a very long time. We’ve both been residents for a very long time,” McCurry said. “I think the fact it was so close means we are both highly respected, and it could have been anybody’s race. It just ended up being mine this time.”

McCurry garnered 51.67 percent or 1,441 votes, while Lawrence took 48.33 percent or 1,348 votes. According to the Lee County Elections Office, a total of 2,789 votes were cast in the Seat 1 race.

“I consider it an honor that the voters of Sanibel have elected me,” he said of the win.

McCurry thanked his supporters and offered his congratulations to Cochrane.

“I look forward to working with Commissioner Bruce Cochrane and Commissioner Jerry Muench, as well as staff at the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District, and to serve the citizens of Sanibel,” he said.

Asked about his priorities, McCurry explained that he wants to look over the finances first.

“I think it’s in pretty good shape,” he said of the state of the district, adding that he has been meeting with the board. “I want to go in line by line and see where I can make any positive changes for the district, if any, and continue at the high level that it’s been at – my priority is to keep it at that level.”

Lawrence could not be reached for comment as of press time.

In the Seat 2 race, Cochrane narrowly took home the win, earning 50.35 percent or 1,441 votes as compared to Barron, who received 49.65 percent or 1,421 votes – a difference of 20 ballots. The Lee County Elections Office reported that a total of 2,862 votes were cast in the race.

“I wish him all the luck in his position and all the firefighters,” Barron said of Cochrane’s win.

He offered his thanks to everyone who voted, along with some who were instrumental in the campaign progress, including Jason Maughan, Jeff Powers, Frank Walters, his wife Heather and his family.

“It’s always difficult to beat an incumbent position, but in the end it’s all about the voters,” Barron said.

“I’m really proud to have come out and a made a showing,” he added. “This is my first election (running for office), so I couldn’t be any more proud to be a part of it and watch how things happen.”

Cochrane could not be reached for comment as of press time.

All election results are unofficial until certified.