Maughan beats out incumbent
March 15, 2017


Jason Maughan won the third seat for City Council, ousting incumbent Marty Harrity in the March 7 election. Kevin Ruane and Mick Denham were reelected for another four year term.

"I was shocked out of my socks," Maughan said when a phone call with Pamela Smith revealed he won. "Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart."

A moment Maughan remembers from Tuesday night was how proud his son, Ronan, was.

"It was just amazing. When I think of 20 years ago, I told my dad, some day your son will be the city councilman, or the mayor of this island, that is a promise to you," Maughan said. "You have to show you have the chops and selflessness to serve in all various aspects of the community. You put that time in and you show people you get the job done and get the job done in good cheer. That's my way of doing things. You help other people and you hope they will help you in return."

Ruane received 1,697 votes (29.95 percent), Denham received 1,545 votes (27.27 percent) and Maughan received 1,271 votes (22.43 percent). Harrity received 1,153 votes (20.35 percent.)

"I am extremely grateful for Marty Harrity for his years of service. He will continue to do great things for this community," Ruane said Wednesday morning. "I spoke to him last night and this morning. He certainly wants me to lead the city."

Harrity said sometimes you win and sometimes you do not, that is the game of politics.

"The people have spoken and that is how it works," he said. "I'm still fully engaged in the community and what is going on in the community. Life goes on. Sanibel is my home, I'm not going anywhere. I have a business here."

He said he is very grateful and humbled that he received the majority of the votes.

"The community certainly spoke. I obviously am very humbled in the faith and confidence they have in me. It's an honor to do this for another four years," Ruane said.

With challenger Maughan winning the third seat, the three incumbents - Ruane, Denham and Harrity - who all spoke about keeping the team together before the election, will no longer sit at the dais making decisions.

"We are going to have to embrace Jason and educate him on the way the process works. He is very new. He needs to understand how government works. It is very different than private sector," Ruane said, adding that he sent him a message congratulating him, welcoming him to the team. "We will move him forward and get him acclimated."

Now with the election over, Ruane said he will continue to listen to the community and what their needs are.

"The one thing about the community is the community is outspoken of what their needs are. It's about democracy. It's not about pleasing all people. It's about what the majority of people want," Ruane said.

Denham was also honored to be reelected to the City Council.

"I am very pleased and honored to be selected once again. I have enjoyed my time on there and look forward to the next four years," Denham said, adding that he is looking forward to working with a new team. "I believe our mission is the same."

The top priorities he said are water quality, being sure the financial health of the city continues, as well as continuing to be concerned about the redevelopment process, in particular the Center 4 Life building and helping BIG ARTS with their plans.

"I am looking forward to it and looking forward to the challenge. I look forward to welcoming Jason Maughan as a candidate and look forward to the new team," Denham said.

Maughan will be sworn in during a ceremony on March 21. He said he will immediately take his position and replace the "honorable Marty Harrity. I thank Marty for his kind service to the island."

The first piece of business he would like to take care of is proposing a resolution to start term limits, which includes himself for City Council.

"Two terms. That's it and you are out. You have to break up the idea of never ending elected officials because they are so emerged in the power of the island that normal people are terrified to run against them, or what it will cost," he said. "That is not a healthy root. It creates a situation for people to be afraid to participate in the democratic process."

Maughan believes he has something to bring to the table by adding to the demographics of the younger people.

"We need to have a voice," he said, adding that he believes there are ways to elevate the youth and the community of the island. "More events where neighbors get to know neighbors. Young families get to grow up with other young families."

Maughan said he also wants to concentrate on water quality and building a relationship with Captiva because they are Sanibel's sister island.


Regular Size Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander