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Bernardini bests longtime adversary

By DAN DeWITT

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 2000


BROOKSVILLE -- Former Mayor Joe Bernardini was returned to the Brooksville City Council on Tuesday, decisively beating one of the leaders of the movement that ousted him six years ago, Pat Brayton.

"Oh that's great," Bernardini said when he heard the news.

He expected a close race. Instead, he defeated Brayton by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio in the non-partisan election. Brayton beat the third candidate, Robert Pruitt, who has lived in the city for four years.

Bernardini said the result heals any remaining wounds from 1994, when voters removed him and three other sitting council members.

"I think this more than makes up for it," Bernardini said. He said he did not know why he won so convincingly, "but I really do appreciate everybody's support."

Brayton, who was originally elected with four other members of the recall movement, pointed to Brooksville's numerous gains in the past six years. The city's finances have improved greatly, he said, and the city has built a badly needed sewage treatment plant.

Bernardini said the city had begun to make big strides before the 1994 election. The former council would have finished the sewage treatment plant much sooner, he said, and started revitalizing downtown.

Four referendums on charter amendments also passed. These were mostly designed to help clear up archaic language and make governing easier.

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