Oldsmar council candidates remain low-key on election eve

On the eve of what has been called one of the quietest elections in recent memory, Oldsmar City Council Seat 2 candidates Becky Afonso and Jerry Beverland urge residents to get out and vote tomorrow.

Becky Afonso and Jerry Beverland share a laugh at the end of the candidate forum on Tuesday night.

Becky Afonso, a political newcomer, and Jerry Beverland, the former Oldsmar mayor and council member, are running for City Council Seat #4 in the 2016 municipal election.

Soon after the number of candidates for Oldsmar City Council was cut in half back in January, and with no other items on the ballot, it was clear that Oldsmar’s 2016 election season was going to be a bit quieter than usual.

Add in the fact that the two candidates who remained in the race for Seat #4—Becky Afonso and Jerry Beverland—are such polar opposites that many people knew right away who they would vote for on Election Day, and it’s easy to see why there hasn’t been a whole lot of local election talk around the water cooler this year.

With that in mind, both Beverland, the longtime Oldsmar political insider, and Afonso, a renowned bicycling advocate who is running for office for the first time, were hoping for a strong voter turnout on the eve of the election.

2016 Oldsmar City Council Seat 2 candidate, and former mayor, Jerry Beverland.

2016 Oldsmar City Council candidate Jerry Beverland at a book signing last fall.

“I hope everybody votes,” Beverland, a former Oldsmar mayor and longtime city council member, told Oldsmar Connect on Monday afternoon.

“I know the turnout for these (national) elections is always more profound, and I expect that will be true this year.”

Afonso agreed with her opponent.

“My first thought to residents is to go out and vote,” Afonso said by phone.

“Decisions are made by those who show up. That’s what democracy is all about.”

Becky Afonso (c) poses with Council member Linda Norris and Mayor Doug Bevis at the Oldsmar City Council meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2016.

Becky Afonso (c) poses with Council member Linda Norris and Mayor Doug Bevis during a city council meeting on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

While the volume of Oldsmar’s 2016 campaign might have been dialed down to low following the automatic reelections of Mayor Doug Bevis and Council Member Dan Saracki, one of the nice things about the race is the lack of animosity between the candidates.

In a year when mud-slinging and campaign rhetoric is being taken to an all-time high, or low, nationally, Afonso and Beverland have been nothing but respectful and courteous to each other throughout the process.

“No matter who wins tomorrow, Oldsmar doesn’t lose,” Afonso said.

“You have two people who are passionate about and care about the City of Oldsmar, and we both want to do what’s best for the city and the residents.”

Beverland, meanwhile, responded in his trademark, way-with-words, style.

“No matter what happens tomorrow, the sun will come up and the sun will go down,” he said. “But I know one thing’s for sure—one of us is gonna win.”

While Beverland said he intends to wait for the election results in the comfort of his home with his beloved wife, Wanda, Afonso said she plans to ride her bike along the trail to each of Oldsmar’s three voting precincts during the day before making her way to Jack Willies, where she’s hosting a watch party from 5:00-7:00 p.m. for all her friends and supporters.

“I’m looking forward to thanking them for coming out to vote,” she said.

“Regardless of whether they voted for me or not, I’m looking forward to it either way.”

What you need to know: 2016 City of Oldsmar municipal election:

Oldsmar City Council Seat 4 candidates Becky Afonso and Jerry Beverland.

Oldsmar City Council Seat 4 candidates Becky Afonso and Jerry Beverland.

Candidates: City Council Seat 4: Becky Afonso; Jerald “Jerry” Beverland
Amendments: None
Precincts: Oldsmar Public Library, 400 St. Petersburg Dr. E.; Oldsmar Fire Station, 225 Pine Ave. N.; Gul Aire Village clubhouse, 151 B Gul Aire Blvd.
Voting hours: 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m
Candidate watch parties: Afonso: 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Jack Willies Bar, Grill and Tiki, 1013 St. Petersburg Dr. W., Oldsmar; Beverland: private

For more information on the City of Oldsmar’s 2016 municipal election, visit this section of the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections website.

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