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Voters elect three to city council seats

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Mar 2, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Mike Miller

Three new faces are set to be sworn in on the Sanibel City Council following today’s election.

Mike Miller, John Henshaw and Scott Crater pulled ahead as the top three vote-getters in the city’s March 2 election from a field of six candidates. Elections held for council seats are non-partisan.

The winners will take up the seats currently held by Mayor Mick Denham, who did not seek re-election, along with Councilmembers Chauncey Goss and Jerry Muench, who were appointed late last year to replace former Mayor Kevin Ruane and Councilmember Jason Maughan for the interim.

Miller garnered the most votes with 1,695 — 23.76 percent of the total ballots counted. Henshaw secured second with 1,639 or 22.97 percent, and Crater won third with 1,557 or 21.83 percent.

Also vying for one of the council seats was: Mary Bondurant, who earned 1,034 or 14.49 percent; Maughan, who earned 694 or 9.73 percent; and Tim Drobnyk, who earned 515 or 7.22 percent.

PHOTO PROVIDED John Henshaw

“I obviously feel really honored to be elected, and particularly as part of a group that was made up of really well qualified candidates,” Miller said of the win. “I thank the citizens of Sanibel for their confidence in me, and I’m ready to get to work.”

He extended congratulations to Henshaw and Crater on their wins.

“I also want to applaud Mary, Jason and Tim for the high quality of their campaigns,” Miller said.

Asked about his top priorities, he pointed to the environment.

“Our biggest concern remains, as it has for many years, doing what we can to reduce harmful algal blooms,” Miller said, noting that the city does not have direct control over the issue but needs to continue with its advocacy measures.

PHOTO PROVIDED Scott Crater

“That’s got to be the number one priority, I think,” he added.

Henshaw shared his reaction to the election results.

“I’m very honored to have been elected by the voters of Sanibel,” he said. “The expectations are high as far as I’m concerned, and I will not let them down.”

Among Henshaw’s top priorities are continuing to ensure the island has a vibrant community and improving water quality so residents can live and fulfill the principals associated with the Sanibel Plan.

“The main focus, obviously, is to continue to make sure our residents are safe and feel safe,” he said, referring to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Henshaw thanked his supporters, voters for making their choices known and other candidates.

“I was honored to be a part of the six candidates running,” he said.

Crater expressed enthusiasm for the work ahead.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to serve Sanibel and to work with Mike and John and (Councilmembers) Holly (Smith) and Richard (Johnson),” he said. “I think we’re going to have a great council and get a lot of things accomplished.”

Crater cited working on COVID policy, water quality and balancing the city budget.

“Water quality is the number one priority,” he said.

“I do want to revisit the subject of gas-powered leaf blowers,” Crater added.

He also spoke highly of the others on the ballot.

“I think that this year we had an exceptional pool of candidates running for city council. I think we were really fortunate to have a lot of great choices,” Crater said. “I think the community really stepped up in their level of interest and participation.”

Bondurant, Maughan and Drobnyk could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the Lee County Elections Office, there are 5,787 registered voters on Sanibel and 2,670 of them cast a ballot in today’s election — 46.14 percent. Miller received the highest vote-by-mail votes with 1,257 in total, while Henshaw received the highest votes on Election Day with 543 in total.

All election results are unofficial until certified.