VENICE — The protest vote, party politics, negative ads, a three-way mayoral race, and a record turnout all played a major part in Venice elections this year.
As of 3 p.m. on Election Day, the overall unofficial turnout for the Venice General Election to fill three seats on City Council was 40.54%, a record.
The day ended at 45.94% of the total registered 19,607 eligible voters casting a ballot.
The race was close for all three Venice City Council seats.
Ron Feinsod, a resident of Venice for five years, won the mayoral position by 92 votes over Bob Daniels, who served three terms on City Council before throwing his hat into the ring.
Nick Pachota, a longtime resident whose family owns Sharky’s on the Pier, beat his opponent, Debbie Sanacore, a city employee, by 123 votes.
Joe Neunder, also a longtime resident and business owner, defeated Tim Brady by 1,101 votes out of 8,853 cast in their contest.
Daniels, Neunder and Pachota formed a loosely knit slate of candidates supported by establishment groups, like police, firefighters and Realtors associations.
The election saw its share of negative advertising, with both sides accusing the other of using either “dark PAC” monies or dirty politics to make their point.
Daniels was targeted with two ethics complaints by supporters of his opponents. Neither has been deemed as being sufficient to warrant an ethics investigation by the city or the state so far.
Yard signs went missing, according to both Daniels and Feinsod camps. Daniels initiated a police complaint after learning city vehicles may have been involved.
That investigation is still underway.