Political newcomer Luis Gonzalez ran away with the top spot in the Marathon City Council race.
“Without the support of the community and the team, it definitely would not have been possible,” said Gonzalez. “I’m humbled and thrilled by the results considering that I was running against what I call two incumbents — Mark, the incumbent, and George, a 20-year veteran (of the county commission).”
But it was a nail-biter to determine the second-place finisher. Ultimately, incumbent Mark Senmartin was elected to serve a third term.
The final tally: Gonzalez, 1,942 votes; Senmartin: 1,605 votes; Neugent, 1,561 votes; and John Kissick, 971 votes. Neugent was slightly ahead of Senmartin until the final precinct was counted, giving Senmartin the 44-vote lead.
“I had a handle on the early voting and the absentee voting, but what caught me was the people that went to the polls and voted,” said Neugent. “But politics is a zero sum game; you can win by one vote or lose by one vote. And there were a lot of close elections this year at the local and state level.”
Senmartin plans to jump right back into governing without missing a beat.
“I’ve already done some of the preliminary research on a splash park and, obviously, got sidetracked by the election,” he said. “I want to put together a panel for recommendations. When we know what we want, we can figure out how to get it. I’m not married to any location; the city manager’s input is that Rotary Park might be the best spot, but it depends on what we want.”
He also said he plans to work on the town’s beautification with Gonzalez who has said it’s one of his top priorities too. Gonzalez wants to open all of Sombrero Beach and make it completely operational. Senmartin spoke of landscaping initiatives, but also standards for new development in Marathon. “The whole west end of Marathon is ready to blow up and … we need to have a say in what things look like when they are built.”
Gonzalez and Neugent amassed the largest war chest, with totals of $28,000 and $26,000 respectively. Senmartin raised $14,900 and Kissick raised almost $6,000 according to the last reports filed.
A substantial number of Marathon voters “under-voted” — meaning they only voted for one candidate rather than two. According to the unofficial reports, there were 1,769 single-vote casters. That is a substantial increase over the 2015 election with 433 under votes.