Lee Major appears to have won a Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority seat tonight and David Hayes may have joined him in a race still too close to call.
Official results will be released Wednesday.
Michael Tim Yonker fell short of clinching a seat as Dick Ryan rallied in the race for Seat 5 after absentee and Charlotte County ballots were counted along with preliminary Lee County balloting.
Major collected more than 56 percent of the vote for Seat 2 to shoot past early leader Patrice Dumas, who led on-site voting handily at Precinct 18 at the Boca Grande Community Center. He will now take a seat on the GIBA Board in November.
Hayes has 50 percent of the vote for Seat 4, which is exactly what he needs to avoid a runoff with Margeurite "Cookie" Potter. It's a race where 8 percent of the voters backed John Bourgoin, who withdrew from running for health considerations.
Virginia Watkins leads William Jack in the race for Seat 1 with neither able to collect half the votes. All races where no candidates collected 50 percent of the vote will be decided by a runoff Nov. 2 against the top two finishers in tonight's balloting.
GIBA Primary Election Prelim Results
Ginger" Watkins 29744
David Hayes 33250
"Cookie" Potter 27041
* John Bourgoin619
Michael Tim Yonker30945
Complete and final voting will be posted in the next Gasparilla Gazette election story online at bocagrandetalk.com and in Thursday's print edition.
Candidates are running to fill the seats of GIBA Board members David Rohrer, George Castrucci, Grace Harvey and Peter Sholley - all were term-limited. Castrucci was filling out the term of the late Lyman Randall and the other terms run out Nov. 10.
Questions are still being asked about the validity of the vote. As many as 35 percent of the Gasparilla Island absentee votes were sent through the mail and many were returned to sender a number of times because of a postal scanning problem that sent the envelopes back to voters rather than on to be counted.
Of the roughly 343,000 registered voters in Lee County and 116,000 in Charlotte, only about 1,400 matter in the GIBA race, including 1,105 Lee County voters and 382 Charlotte County voters. The magic number for any GIBA candidate is roughly 700 votes to guarantee victory.
The Lee County Supervisor of Elections write-in ballot problem with the balky bar code on the return envelope for the mail-in ballots was more an embarrassmentt to Sharon Harrington, Lee County supervisor of elections, than a hindrance to the election, she said.
The primary election issue revolved around the controversial Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority's $40 million replacement plans for the three aging island spans.