Key West’s incumbent mayor is replaced by voters. Tuesday, October 6, voters showed up at the polls, casting their confidence behind Craig Cates: Key West native, businessman, husband, father, and grandfather. Needing 50.1% of the majority vote, Cates secured 50.5%.
“It’s a lot of excitement. I’m just trying to control myself,” Cates raves to The Key West Weekly.
Voter Harry Hoehn: “I think it’s pretty amazing one of the candidates got 50-plus-1 of the votes. It just speaks highly of Craig and what he’s going to do for this city.”
Cates’ day started at 6 am.
“I was out holding signs… taking signs to people to hold them for me,” Cates describes. “I went out putting signs all over the community today.”
Another victor this time in District I, Jimmy Weekley, attests his day was just as hectic. “Yesterday, I went out reminding people it was election day… gave them my cell phone number in case they needed rides to the polls. I had three of four people call me today!”
Weekley, who’s served 14 previous years as a commissioner and six years as mayor, actually served from 1987 – 1989 with Cates’ mother, Emma.
“I think we (me and Cates) have similar personalities. We’re both laid back and I think his interests are what’s best for the community. I don’t think there’s a hidden agenda here.”
When Cates’ rolled into the parking lot of Conch Town Liquor & Lounge on Key West’s Roosevelt Boulevard with his wife Cheryl by his side, he remarked on the reception he saw on election day.
“It was great… people blowing their horns and waving… people holding signs. It’s been very overwhelming.”
He remarks the most meaningful component to his campaign was reconnecting with old family friends.
“I got to meet so many people who knew my family,” the new mayor gushes, “I didn’t know they had known my mother and dad, and that’s been the greatest.”
After tonight, he’ll still be accessible. In parking lots such as Conch Town, his NAPA Auto Parts store down the boulevard, or at Old City Hall… accessible, and focused on his personal quest.
“To try to help the community. To see if I can being the community back together that Key West is known for and that it is special for,” he says with a humble attitude as he turns to accept congratulations from the crowd of 300 supporters gathered at the popular Key West watering hole.
Again Hoehn: “I just think people are ready for a change. Craig sent a really good message, ‘are you safer than you were last election.. is the town cleaner than it was last election,’ and I think the answer to the questions Craig posed is no.”