One day before the deadline, three candidates filed the necessary paperwork to run for the Board of Supervisors of the Gateway CDD.

George Huskamp, Kathleen Flaherty and Ed Tinkle all submitted the relevant documents yesterday to establish their campaigns – running for seats 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

Huskamp will be taking on Vice-Chairman Margaret Fineberg for Seat 1.

In a bit of a shock, Kathleen Flaherty opted to run against Carol Stanley for Seat 2. More on that later.

And as I expected, Ed Tinkle chose to run against Supervisor Pamela Gill for Seat 3.

I knew that Tinkle and Huskamp would run, and I firmly believed that Flaherty would as well. It’s possible additional candidates could emerge today, but the only others who had discussed a potential run with me have confirmed they’ve decided against running.

One would-be candidate called the current election line-up a “mess”.

It would appear that Fineberg and Stanley may have anticipated they would be running unopposed.

In their election filings they opted against naming a Campaign Treasurer and stated they would not be raising or spending any money on their campaigns. Either Fineberg or Stanley can reverse that decision at any time, however.

Gill obviously did anticipate an opponent, as she filed the necessary paperwork to fund-raise for her campaign.

The largest surprise of the filings was Flaherty’s decision to take on Stanley. As we previously noted, Stanley lives in Pelican Preserve – a 55 and older community in Fort Myers that comes out in droves to put their residents on to the GSCDD board.

I examined the precint voting results from 2008 and if you look where only Gateway residents voted, Supervisor Gary Neubauer had just a slight lead. But if you look at the precint where Pelican residents voted, Neubuaer won it in an absolute landslide.

Same with current Chairman William Guy in 2010. There was an equally stark difference in voting between Gateway precint’s and the Pelican Preserve precint.

Pelican Preserve residents put those two over the top.

For some reason, Pelican Preserve residents want to have 2 out of the 5 GSCDD seats at all times. They even discuss the matter amongst each other to figure out which Pelican resident will run. It’s kind of odd since most of the decisions made that the CDD meetings are about Gateway, and for the few matters that come up focusing on Pelican Preserve, the Supervisors rubber-stamp what the Pelican Preserve Advisory Committee wants to do and everybody moves on.

Flaherty will have an uphill battle, and is basically starting her campaign 500 to 750 votes behind.

I’m disappointed we don’t have any candidates who aren’t empty-nesters. One former GSCDD executive called Supervisor Doug Banks (who has young children) “a breath of fresh air”. And that’s exactly what Banks is. It would have been nice to see additional residents who are currently raising families step up to become a part of the solution in Gateway going forward.

That said, at least all three seats are being contested and nobody is running unopposed. The residents of Gateway (and Pelican Preserve) will at least be able to choose a candidate in each of the board seats up for election in November.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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