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After Neck-And-Neck Race, Panama City Beach Council To Swear In New Member Next Week

In front of a campaign sign, Geoff McConnell is with his wife
Geoff McConnell Campaign Facebook page

Following the results of a close race between political novices this week, the Panama City beach Council will swear in a new member.

When he realized he'd won Tuesday's election, Geoff McConnell celebrated his victory with supporters.

“Thank you so much,” he said. “I’m grateful for each and every one of you.”

After defeating his main opponent Burnie Thompson by slightly more than 160 votes, McConnell will now become the next Ward 3 council member for Panama City Beach.

Throughout the race, both split on several issues, including rules for the area’s Spring Break. Because of how rowdy Spring Break had gotten a few years ago, one of the new rules instituted was an alcohol ban.

McConnell says he supports the ban, but Thompson was against it. The latter says he’d rather crack down on bad behavior.

“I do not support banning alcohol on the beach,” Thompson said, during a forum. “I think it’s un-American.”

Following the election results, Thompson said he accepts the will of the voters and is unsure if he’ll run for office again. Meanwhile, McConnell will be officially sworn in Thursday at 9 a.m. at the city council’s next meeting. He’ll replace Josie Strange, who’s term limited and is expected to run for Mayor in the future.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.