The Sarasota County Commission election is on August 30th, not November 8th.
Well, not exactly. But here’s why, practically speaking, the August 30th primary election is election day for the Sarasota County Commission.
Since 1970, every single Sarasota County Commissioner has been a Republican. Every. single. one.* Registered Democrats and Independents outnumber registered Republicans in Sarasota, but registered Republicans are the single largest voting block in Sarasota County. Here are the rough numbers:
In the November election, most people vote along party lines in the County Commission races. Many Sarasota voters don’t really know the local County Commission candidates, and vote based on party affiliation. Dems vote for Dems, Republican for Republicans, and Independents tend to split down the middle. This party line vote is why Sarasota has had a one party Republican County Commission since 1970. Which is why, for over 45 years, the real County Commission election has been in the August Republican County Commission primary.*
Voters in Sarasota are waking up to the special interest and dark money infecting our elections and corrupting our local government. What can we do about it? Vote in the August 30th Republican primary for the candidate who will work for the people, not the special interest “growth” machine.
In the District 3 and 5 County Commissioner races, both Charles Hines and Nancy Detert are unopposed. In the District 1 County Commission race – We Have a Choice!! Great news, because the local GOP special interest/dark money machine often intimidates good candidates from running.
Frank DiCicco is running in the District one County Commission Republican primary. DiCicco explains “People feel as though they are not being heard and are tired of ‘business as usual.’ I will foster awareness and communication to the people, so that there are properly informed regarding development projects so that they will better understand how it will impact them – both negatively and positively – and give them a voice.”
Mike Moran is the machine candidate in the August 30th Republican primary. He has already worked to benefit Carlos Beruff at the expense of residents as a Planning Commissioner, when he supported approving two hundred new homes, many sandwiched between the borders of two unlined County landfills.. Moran suggested his fellow Planning Commissioners should dismiss the testimony of residents regarding toxic contamination and the incidence of cancer near the landfills. Moran asked the County Attorney at a hearing “So in other words, if a Commissioner here felt tonight that the land was contaminated and unsafe for use based on the testimony, not any testing that was done, it would not be grounds for a vote to decline the project?”
With his stunning question, Moran was asking his fellow Planning Commissioners to blow off the evidence provided by residents lined up to speak at the hearing. He was wrong on the rules – Planning Commissioners could certainly consider the testimony of residents regarding the public health and welfare as a basis for denying the project. Moran also made it clear he didn’t want to consider test results offered during testimony. Moran’s Planning Commission performance is the worst example I’ve seen of our County government failure to listen to and do what is best for constituents, rather than campaign donors like Randy Benderson, Carlos Beruff, Pat Neal and Rex Jensen.
So many people in Sarasota complain about traffic, environmental damage and local corruption. BUT, if you aren’t voting in the August 30th County Commission Republican primary, you will be a no-show in the race which decides who your next County Commissioner is. If you’re not voting in the election that has, for over 40 years, been THE election for your County Commission, you are letting others choose for you.* Choose for yourself. Register with the GOP by August 1 to vote in the August 30th GOP primary, and make a difference.
If you are already a registered Republican, show up on August 30th and vote. If you are not a registered Republican, register with the Republican Party by August 1st. You can change your party affiliation back after August 30th if you choose. Just mail in another registration form. Local election information can be found at www.sarasotavotes.com. Here is the specific link for a Florida voter registration form:
Print it out and to fill it out with black ballpoint pen. You must be a US citizen and a Florida resident to register, and you must be 18 years old by August 30th to vote in the primary (you can preregister to vote at 16 or 17 years old, but you will not be able to vote until you are 18)
Mail the completed, signed form in to the Supervisor of Elections PO Box 4194 Sarasota FL 34230-4194 or
Drop it off at the one of the Sarasota Supervisor of Elections offices:
2001 Adams Lane, Sarasota, FL 34237
RL Anderson County Administration 4000 South Tamiami Trail Venice, Florida 34293
Biscayne Plaza 13640 Tamiami Trail North Port, FL 34287
Click here for street maps to all three locations
Information on the party affiliation of Sarasota County Commissioners is sourced from the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office.
For Democrats: I’m glad there is a Democrat, Fredd Atkins, running. The historic reality of the August Republican primary isn’t a run on Fredd. It is what it is. If there’s any election cycle when a Democrat can win a County Commission seat, it’s during a presidential election year. In 2012, Democrat Jennifer Cohen captured 45% of the vote against Christine Robinson, and she did it with the support of Sarasota Republicans who were wise to the corruption on our County Commission, and she did it with half the funds compared to Robinson. But those of us who want to see the corruption of our County government end can’t rely on a Democratic upset in November. We need to vote in the August primary.
Full disclosure (in case you hadn’t figured it out already): I support Frank DiCicco, who I believe is our best shot at turning the tide of corruption on our County Commission.
As a lifelong independent who has voted across party lines, I am interested in good government first. The dynamic described here in Sarasota County makes a good case for open primaries.
For party affiliates who believe only their party members should be able to vote in their primaries, Ion Sancho, the non-partisan Supervisor of Elections in Tallahassee, makes a great case for open primaries. Among other reasons, Sancho notes that the current system forces taxpayers to pay for elections (primaries) that nearly two-thirds of them are not allowed to participate in. Closed primaries work for the interests of the parties, not the taxpayers, not the voters.
Reality: Based on historic August GOP primary turnout, with about 290,000 voters registered in Sarasota County, less than 10% (27- 30K) voters will be picking our District 1 County Commissioner in August. Over 260,000 registered voters in Sarasota County won’t (non participating GOP voters) or can’t (Dems and Independents) cast a ballot in the race that has chosen our County Commissioners for the past 43 years. Put the August election on your radar and participate!