Bluffs' Brand Ousted in Surprise; Johnson Swamps House in IRB
By Leo Coughlin
One long-term office holder was bounced from office and R.B. Johnson was re-elected mayor of Indian Rocks Beach with the biggest margin of all voting in the area.
Hunt Brand, a former mayor and veteran member of the City Commission, lost out in Belleair Bluffs as Joe Barkley was returned to office for a full term and newcomer Taylour Shimkus was elected in her maiden try for office.
Johnson swamped Don House by 768 to 299 votes and with a winning percentage of 71.98.
In Belleair, Tom Shelly kept his seat on the Town Commission and Patricia Irwin was elected as a new face on the commission. Brad Ackerman finished third in the voting for the two seats. Karla Rettstatt did not seek re-election.
Mitch Krach and David Dumville kept their seats on the Belleair Beach City Council with Leslie Ford Notaro, another newcomer, winning the third seat. Dick Crowl did not seek re-election.
Brand's loss in Belleair Bluffs was probably the biggest surprise in the elections. He had been a popular figure, winning office every time he had run.
House was never regarded as a real threat to Johnson in IRB, but Johnson's winning margin was startling.
Shimkus is the wife of a former Bluffs commission member who was making her first foray into elective politics. Her husband, Dave, stepped down last year to challenge Mayor Chris Arbutine and his seat was filled by Barkley to fill out the term.
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