Dewey elects Laird and Seitz

by Michael Short on September 25, 2010

By Michael Short

The top vote-getter with 641 votes, Jim Laird becomes the newest member of the Dewey Beach Town Council.

Dewey Beach voters returned Commissioner Marty Seitz to office on  Saturday while also electing newcomer Jim Laird.

Seitz, Laird and Kelly Ranieri competed for two seats in the Saturday, Sept. 25 Dewey Beach Commissioner Election. Laird received 641 votes and Seitz received 603 votes. Ranieri finished with 314 votes.

It’s been a contentious race for the seaside town. Dewey Beach has been embroiled in controversy over development plans by Dewey Beach Enterprises (DBE).

Those plans have prompted a total of six lawsuits between the town and DBE over the proposed Ruddertowne re-development. Many have said the town has been divided over the issue and how to best deal with it.

On Saturday, the town was plastered nearly end to end with campaign signs and banners. Turnout was high all day long, pulling people off the beach on one of the last hot days of the year.

Ranieri’s face was posted on the sign outside one prominent business, urging voters to support her. Near the town lifesaving station, where residents voted on Saturday, candidates and supporters gathered with placards and cars decked with banners.  The Citizens to Preserve Dewey (CPD), prominent players in the election campaign, had a table set up. Signs noting the Cape Gazette’s endorsement of Seitz and Laid were prominently displayed.

Seitz and Laird ran together as a team. They were endorsed by the CPD as well as by Commissioners Diane Hanson and Marc Appelbaum. Ranieri was endorsed by six Dewey Beach mayors, including current mayor Rick Solloway, and six former town commissioners.

Seitz attributed his success to a grass roots campaign of making phone calls and going door to door to meet voters. He said he felt that personal touch had helped convince voters to re-elect him.

Seitz has served one term and said he will not seek election again when his second term expires. He said he does not “want to be a single issue person.”

Laird will take the place of Commissioner Marc Appelbaum, who chose not to seek re-election.

“I’m disappointed, but I will continue to serve the town as best I can,” said Ranieri. “I hope the commissioners elected will work together and be independent thinkers.”

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