Onetime candidate running for Key West commission again

Margaret Romero says she's missed only one or two Key West City Commission meetings over the past six or seven years.

The outspoken Key West resident has filed to run for the District 5 commission seat as outgoing Commissioner Teri Johnston isn't planning to run again after eight years on the dais.

Romero was mum on specifics if elected, but said she wants to make sure that residents get respect from the board.

"To have a vote on the dais rather than three minutes on the podium," Romero said Tuesday. "I want to make more of a difference."

Romero joins community activist Mike Mongo in the race for the District 5 seat. Official candidate qualifying with elections officials is noon Aug. 17 to noon Aug. 21.

A retired IBM executive, Romero lost to incumbent Craig Cates in the 2014 mayoral election, garnering 43.66 percent of the votes to Cates' 53.13 percent. Sloan Bashinsky received 3.21 percent of the votes. Both Romero and Bashinsky had previously run for mayor.

The race for District 2 so far has Key West attorney Sam Kaufman, Key West resident Robert "Skip" O'Neil II and former Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson.

Incumbent Tony Yaniz is seeking re-election to his District 4 seat and remains unopposed so far. Retired restaurant owner Fredy Varela Sr. dropped out of the race, citing medical reasons.

As for Johnston, she said she's going to step back for a while but remain involved and hasn't ruled out running for higher office.

The city election is scheduled for Oct. 6. Commissioners serve three-year terms.