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Takes over open seat vacated by Chris Alahouzos

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Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 10:28 AM
TARPON SPRINGS -

Tarpon Springs voters selected David Banther to be city's newest commissioner by a comfortable margin Tuesday night.

Banther, 30, won 40.97 percent of the vote (1,229 votes) and outpaced his nearest competition in the four-man race, Timothy Keffalas, by nearly 13 percent.

Finishing behind the two front-runners were Jim Bouldin, at 15.5 percent (465 votes), and Tommy Frain, at 15.37 percent (461 votes).

Banther will be officially sworn in to replace Chris Alahouzos at the April 2 regular city commission meeting. Alahouzos, who also serves as the city's vice mayor, is exiting because of term limits.

As posted on Banther's Facebook candidate page Tuesday night after victory became clear: "I am honored that the voters in Tarpon Springs have chosen me to be their next Commissioner. The support I received from family & friends, both old and new, was truly humbling. Now the real work begins!"

All numbers reported by the county remain unofficial until the process is certified on Friday, but Tarpon Springs' total voter turnout was 3,011, according to Nancy Whitlock, communications director for the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. That was nearly the largest total number of individuals throughout Pinellas, second only to Seminole's city council vote that attracted 3,751 voters.

Tarpon Springs overall turnout, though, fell below the average of other municipal elections Tuesday.

Of Pinellas County's 60,456 active registered voters living in the municipalities affected by Tuesday's elections, 13,211 cast ballots, or 21.85 percent. In Tarpon Springs, 17.8 percent of 16,914 registered voters went to the polls.

A total of seven city commissioners, councilors or mayors were decided throughout Pinellas County on Tuesday, in addition to a city charter amendment and two referendums.

The only other election to affect North Pinellas was held in Oldsmar, where Gabby McGee (60.07 percent) outpaced Dan Saracki (28.9 percent) and Suda Tantiss-Colon (11.03 percent) in the race for an open city council seat.

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Banther is currently a Rotary board member and sits on the Tarpon Springs Budget Advisory Committee. According to the biography on his Facebook candidate page, the Tarpon Springs native has also sat on the city's Heritage Preservation Board and the Advisory Board for Florida Capital Bank in Tarpon Springs.

Banther graduated high school in 2001 from Lakeside Christian School in Clearwater, then left Michigan's Hillsdale College in 2005 with degrees in economics and math. Banther received a master's degree in Information Technology Management from Colorado Technical University in 2006.

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