By Jim Melican, GSAC Board Member
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Tuesday’s preliminary election returns in the Naples mayoral race came down to a razor-thin margin of 12 votes, of a total of 8,546 cast. That is the number by which incumbent Mayor Theresa Heitmann edged out former Councilman and Vice-Mayor Gary Price. Current Council Member Ted Blankenship came in a distant third, with 23.9% of the vote, compared to 38.1% and 38.0% for Heitmann and Price respectively.

In the seven precincts comprising the City as a whole, 51.2% of the registered voters cast their votes. In the two precincts within our area, the numbers were 51.3% in Precinct #462 (St. John’s Episcopal Church) and 52.6% in Precinct #464 (Moorings Presbyterian Church). At the only other large precinct in the City (Precinct #477 covering downtown Naples), the turnout was 59.9%.

In Park Shore (#462), Mayor Heitmann beat Gary Price by 5 votes. In the Moorings (#464), she won by a much larger margin of 151 votes.

In the election for three open seats on the City Council, the victors were two of the three candidates running on Price’s TEAM NAPLES slate, Bill “Coach”‘ Kramer and Berne Barton. The remaining seat was won by former Councilwoman Linda Penniman.

Florida law requires that, if the first unofficial results indicate a margin of victory in any race of one-half of one percent or less, there must be a mandatory recount. The Collier County Supervisor of Elections office has announced that that recount will occur tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon and that the second unofficial results will be made public by the end of the day. The final results will not be officially certified until Friday, March 29, by which date any overseas vote-by-mail ballots must have been received.

The newly-elected Council members will be sworn in at the next meeting on Wednesday, April 3 and will join incumbent members Ray Christman, Terry Hutchison and Beth Petrunoff. Together they will be responsible for the conduct of our city government for the next two years. We wish them all well!

Election results are available at