A former Cape Coral mayor and council member was the obvious frontrunner in Tuesday's Primary Election, garnering more than 50 percent of the total votes cast in one city council race.
Jim Burch scored 57.39 percent, or 4,203 votes, for the District 1 seat. He was followed by David Headd, who took 26.41 percent - 1,934 votes. They will face off in the Nov. 5 General Election.
The third place slot went to Steven Golub, with 8.45 percent - 619 votes - while Graham Morris brought up the rear, earning 567 votes or 7.74 percent of the total number cast in the primary.
Jim Burch, left, jokes with supporter Lou Simmons after Tuesday’s Primary Election. Burch will face David Headd for the Cape Coral City Council District 1 seat in November’s General Election.
"In Cape Coral, you never really know what your lead is or what it's not. You never know until the votes are counted," Burch said Tuesday, adding that he has been on both sides of the ledger.
He can only tell voters who he is and what his experience is.
"And let them decide," Burch said.
He was "very happy" with the primary election results.
"Our message is really resonating with the people. They want to see that positive change," Burch said.
He noted that there are eight seats on the council, including the mayor, and every vote is equal.
"I want to bring some experience and leadership," Burch said.
He emphasized that the city needs to generate revenue by other methods than on the backs of the homeowners, and that pre-platted communities should be treated differently by the state. Burch has been working with officials, and will continue to do so, to allocate tax money for municipalities.
Headd also expressed happiness Tuesday about the election results.
"It was a very, very low turnout," he said. "I'm happy to get what I've gotten"
"I'm really excited because my message is finally getting out to quite a few people," Headd added.
His message is one of fiscal responsibility, of cutting the Cape's $1 billion debt.
"I hope to bring my message out to the rest of the city," Headd said of going into the general election.
In the coming months, his campaign plans to look into Burch's record on council.
"He was a pretty heavy spender," Headd said.
Leading into November, Burch's camp plans to continue its message.
"I want to continue to put out a positive vibration that Cape Coral can be a Southwest Florida leader," Burch said, adding that the council can legislate as a group instead of fighting with each other.
Burch also hopes to raise more funding than they had sought for the primary.
"We went into the primary with a relatively austere budget," he said. "I just didn't want to ask people who had no money to donate."
Burch thanked his opponents for running clean campaigns during the primary.
"I hope that David Headd continues that way," he said.
Golub said he had hoped Burch and Headd would split the votes and he would move on.
"I actually, realistically, knew I was going to lose," he said.
He thanked those who voted Tuesday, but expressed angst for the city's residents.
"I feel very bad for the people of the Cape," Golub said. "You're going to get the same old, same old. Nothing is going to change."
Fewer than 8 percent of the total registered voters cast a ballot in Tuesday's primary election.
Golub attributed the voter apathy to the work of the good old boys' network.
"That, to me, is the epitome with what is wrong with the Cape. The amount of apathy in the Cape," he said. "The people of Cape Coral are going to get what they deserve."
Asked what the winner in November should focus on, Golub said they should get rid of the utility tax and that they should prioritize the needs of the city's year-round residents as much as the snowbirds.
"I would like to see them change the direction that the city's going in," he said.
Morris did not immediately return a message Tuesday seeking comment.
The election results are not official until certified.