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Coviello wins Cape mayor’s race

By Staff | Nov 7, 2017

Joe Coviello, with his wife Diane at his side, addresses supporters at Rockade after being elected Cape Coral's mayor Tuesday night. MICHAEL PISTELLA

The Cape Coral mayor’s race was the most closely contested Tuesday night.

Joe Coviello came in as the top vote-getter in the municipal General Election – and the city’s next mayor – with 10,245 votes or 50.60 percent. His opponent, Michael D. Hollow, garnered 10,003 votes or 49.40 percent, coming in a close second. A total of 112,493 voters in the Cape could cast a ballot.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead the city of Cape Coral forward,” Coviello said of the win. “I think the city has a lot of good things going on – I’m excited to move forward in a positive direction.”

He pointed to the Streetscape, Bimini Basin, Seven Islands and other projects on the table.

“We also have a lot of complex issues that need to be addressed,” Coviello said.

Asked about his top priorities once in office, he shared a few ideas.

“Some of the things that I want to tackle, you can only have so much of an impact on,” Coviello said.

He cited Hurricane Irma and the seawall damage left behind by the storm.

“We need to find a way that the city can help support these residents,” Coviello said.

He suggested eliminating or reducing permit fees for the impacted homeowners.

Coviello also noted the recently approved budget for the fiscal year.

“I see some things there that are good, things where we can reduce some expenditures without cutting services,” he said.

Coviello thanked his supporters and voiced excitement about working with the rest of Council.

“I’m very very excited to have the opportunity to work with these people,” he said.

Hollow took the loss in stride on Tuesday.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” he said. “But the residents of Cape Coral, the ones that took the time to cast a vote, have spoken.”

With such a close race, Hollow acknowledged that a recount is possible.

“Any time you have something with less than a 1 percent difference, it always has to be an option to look at,” he said, adding that he intended to talk to his family before making any decision.

Hollow noted that switching the elections back to an even year may help increase voter turnout.

“We can’t expect it to change,” he said of the lower numbers in the off years.

Hollow thanked those who took the time to vote.

“City elections have more of an impact on you than federal or state (elections),” he said.

Asked about his opponent, Hollow hoped that Coviello could stick to his platform.

“He made a lot of statements throughout this campaign cycle. I hope he can stay true to the things that he discussed,” he said. “Hopefully, he comes through with the promises he made.”

On the election itself, Hollow called it a “great process for me personally.” He said he believes that things happen for a reason and that the loss may just be setting him up to run for a seat in 2020.

“There are considerable seats popping up,” Hollow said. “There is no race that is off the table.”

According to Lee County Elections, 126,081 voters in the Cape and Fort Myers were eligible to vote in Tuesday’s two municipal elections. A total of 22,980 ballots were cast, for an 18.23 percent turnout.

All election results are unofficial until certified.

All municipal candidate races are nonpartisan races.