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In Manatee, voters elect Republican commissioners and pass a tax exemption for businesses

Vern Buchanan.
Vern Buchanan
Republican Vern Buchanan won reelection to U.S. House District 16, which represents parts of Manatee and southeastern Hillsborough.

Republican Vern Buchanan will again represent the county in Congress with his reelection in House District 16. Meantime, the tax exemption passed by just a few thousand votes.

Republican Vern Buchanan won reelection to U.S. House District 16, which represents parts of Manatee County and southeastern Hillsborough County.

Meantime, three Republican candidates took seats on the Manatee County Commission, including Amanda Ballard, who defeated Democratic incumbent Reggie Bellamy in District 2.

Fifty-one percent of voters in Manatee County also contributed to a narrow passage of a ballot measure to extend the ability for county commissioners to grant special tax exemptions to new or expanding businesses.

Businesses in manufacturing, processing or production that establish 10 or more well-paying, full-time jobs are eligible for a property tax exemption.

The incentive can also apply to expanding businesses that establish 25 or more full-time jobs and sell more than 50% of their products outside of the county.

(Editors note: This story has been updated to clarify what voters were asked to approve in a countywide referendum.)

Here are the results in key elections:


State House of Representatives

District 70:

  • Beltran, Mike  (REP) - 63.11%
  • Salazar Jr, Eleuterio "Junior"  (DEM) - 36.89%

District 72:

  • Dameus, Roberts Guy (DEM) - 66.75%
  • Gregory, Tommy  (REP) - 33.25%

County Commissioner District 2

  • Amanda Ballard (REP)- 58.59%
  • Reggie Bellamy (DEM)- 41.41%

County Commissioner District 4

  • Michael C. Rahn (REP)- 90.50%
  • (Write-in, NPA)- 9.5%

County Commissioner District 6 (At-large)

  • Jason Bearden (REP)- 92.71%
  • (Write-in, NPA)- 7.29%

School Board District 2

  • Harold E. Byrd, Jr.- 46.87%
  • Cindy Spray- 53.13%

County Referendum

  • Yes: 50.9%
  • No: 49.1%
I cover health and K-12 education – two topics that have overlapped a lot since the pandemic began.