Florida Keys

Coldiron wins, will face Ryan in general election for Keys county commission

Michelle Coldiron
Michelle Coldiron

Marathon Mayor Michelle Coldiron won the Republican Monroe County Commission primary and will face Democrat Thomas “Tommy” Ryan Nov. 6 to determine who represents District 2.

Coldiron and challenger Charles Weitzel were very close in election day votes, but she had a significant lead over him in mailed-in ballots and early voting.

District 2 runs from the southern end of Marathon west to the Boca Chica Channel Bridge five miles to the east of Key West.

Coldiron thanked Weitzel and her other challenger, real estate agent Debbie Halama, for “putting their names in and running a long race.”

She said if she wins against Ryan, a retired New York City firefighter who moved to Big Pine Key in 2011, her first priority will be to “continue work toward workforce housing and to make sure we come up with some solutions.

“I’ll also work toward hurricane mitigation, our environment, including canal restoration and to keep the pressure on Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. ,to fund the Central Everglades Restoration Project,” Coldiron said.

Halama, 53, could not be reached for comment.

Debbie Halama.jpg
Debbie Halama

Weitzel, 60, said he thinks he would have done better, or even won against Coldiron, if he had paid more attention to early voting and mail-ins.

Chuck Weitzel.jpg
Charles Weitzel

“I really appreciate all the support, and the loss is my loss,” said Weitzel, a certified public accountant. “It was my first time I ran and I didn’t know how important early voting was, and that’s my fault.”

Coldiron, 56, received more than 52 percent of early and mailed in votes — 1,798 and 430, respectively. Weitzel received 1,077 early votes and 343 mailed-in votes. Halama was a distant third with 437 early votes and 171 mailed-in ballots. But, Coldiron’s and Weitzel’s share of the election day vote was nearly a tie — 1,145 to 1,124.

“I’m very happy, but we have a lot of work ahead of us,” she said. “But, we’re off to a good first start.”