All of a sudden, City Commission candidate Susan Chapman finds herself alone on an island in the city election against the remaining candidates.
Former candidates the Rev. Kelvin Lumpkin and Linda Holland on Tuesday announced their endorsement for Mayor Suzanne Atwell and Richard Dorfman, who will face Chapman in a May 14 run-off election for at-large city commissioners.
"They're in harmony in how I believe this city ought to grow, and how they govern, and I believe they'll do a great job for this city," Lumpkin said at a press conference held at The Blue Rooster restaurant in Rosemary District, where Jesse Biter and Richard Swier Jr., of the HuB also attended. The HuB, a private business incubator, on Tuesday announced its endorsement and support of Dorfman and Atwell.
Holland, who lost in her third election, said she's come to know the candidates well, and believes that Dorfman has learned a lot, too, since his last election.
"I think it really did open Richard's eyes about balance between the neighborhoods and the business community. He certainly had the business community behind him, and I was a known, passionate neighborhood advocate," Holland said. "But I think it brought to Richard's realization that there's a balance. I think that sometimes, especially during this campaign, it tended to seem like it was one or the other. … I think that's what the team of Suzanne and Richard can do. It can bring that balance of where it can be."
Chapman was the top vote getter with 2,705 votes in the March 12 election, which saw an abysmal voter turnout of 17 percent. Looking at the voter turnout heat map on the Supervisor of Elections website, Sarasota resembles a map of Sahara Desert temperatures with the darkest of reds showing the lowest numbers.
"The voter turnout in March is abysmal. It's so low, and even part of efforts and reach out for my team, a lot of people didn't know there was an election. I'm talking about even the day before," Lumpkin said. "Keeping the voters' attention for another runoff is going to be a challenge."
Seeing how Lumpkin and Holland had a combined 2,974 votes between them, it would be an easier for the duo to find the people who didn't vote, but they still want to talk to the people who did cast a vote for them.
"The whole City Commission needs to move forward together, and I guess that's what I would say to my supporters," Holland said. "We need a group of people who will move forward together, who are open minded and are looking for new ideas."
Both candidates don't know how much money they have left in their campaign treasure chests, but instead of dipping into their pockets, they'll reach their hand out to knock on doors and shake hands to ask for them to vote.
Holland believes she won't have a balance, and Lumpkin said he'll donate to "some group" but both have not thought about donating to Dorfman's or Atwell's campaigns.
Outside of the city downtown core and the North Trail, turnout ranged from 7 to 10 percent for the remaining precincts. Precinct 207 in Newtown only saw 63 votes cast while Precinct 111, near University Parkway, saw 86 votes cast.
"Any improvement would be good. Wouldn't it be wonderful to turn around and double it? Is that realistic? I don't know," Holland said. "I think Kelvin and I are both committed to do everything we can to get people to realize how important this is and to get out and vote."