CAPE CORAL, Fla. - The Cape Coral city council will have a new look after two incumbents were voted out in Tuesday's council elections.
Council members Bill Deile and Pete Brandt lost their bids for re-election, while Derrick Donnell was the lone incumbent on the ballot to be returned to the council.
Overall voter turnout was low, just 16.5 percent.
According to the unofficial tally posted by the Lee County Supervisor of Elections, Brandt had 6,971 votes (43%) to challenger John Carioscia, Sr.'s 9,202 votes (56.9%).
"I think we're looking to heal," Carioscia said. "We want to open up the administration, we want to open up the freedom of information. We want to listen to the people. I think that was our message, and that message was embraced."
Brandt cited low turnout as a factor in his defeat.
"I think it was turnout. I think if we'd had over 20 percent. 20-22 percent, it could have been different," Brandt said.
In District 3, challenger Leonard Nesta, Jr. picked up 8.974 votes (55%) to Deile's 7,206 (44%).
"I think the number one priority is earning the relationship back with the citizens and the other issues will follow," Nesta said.
Deile said the power of the unions led to his defeat. The current council was criticized by Cape Coral's police and fire unions for its handling of police and firefighter contracts.
Still, Deile put a positive spin on the loss.
"I styled this as a win-win party. If I win the election, I win. If I lose, I get my life back, and that's a win," Deile said.
District 5 was an open seat, with council member Erick Kuehn choosing not to run. Rana Erbrick had 8,485 votes (53%) to Scott Morris' 7,389 votes (46%).
Erbrick, who will be the lone woman on the council, said she expects several big issues to face the new council.
"We're going to start looking at that union contract that's a long festering wound that its time to close. Let's get that thing moving forward. Obviously the (Utility Expansion Project) is something that's been on the minds of the voters," Erbrick said.
In District 7, Derrick Donnell survived a challenge from Dave Stokes, who had the vote advantage during the September primary. Donnell narrowly won re-election with 8,196 votes (51.35%) to Stokes' 7,765 (48.65%).
"I'm just humbled and thankful, and I add on this time, shocked," Donnell said.
The newly elected council members will be sworn into office on Monday, November 14.