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Background Briefing

2024 Elections

With the approach of election year, WSLR is here to provide information regarding the upcoming 2024 elections.

Not registered to vote? Solve that issue by registering to vote online! Florida citizens can register to vote here.

For those looking to vote by mail, don’t forget that vote-by-mail requests made prior to November 8, 2022 have expired. Requests can be made online or in person at any election office.

Below are detailed explanations of the offices up for election during the 2024 year. The candidates of each office are also included with a brief description of who they are and what they stand for.

President of the United States

Only the Republican Party will hold a statewide presidential primary. To vote in it, you must be a registered Republican by the voter registration deadline on February 20.  Voters have until 5pm Thursday, March 7 to request a ballot be mailed to them for the coming election.  A voter may request a vote-by-mail ballot in one of the following ways:  In person at any of three elections offices in Sarasota, Venice or North Port, by phone at 941-861-8618 or online at SarasotaVotes.gov/VotebyMail.

Republican Candidates

Donald Trump

Trump served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021 and is now running for re-election. He won the 2016 presidential election against Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton, despite losing the popular vote. This made him the first U.S. president with no prior military or government experience. Trump's campaign focuses on economic prosperity, securing America's borders, restoring public safety, and reclaiming free speech. In his interviews and public statements, Trump has stated that he wishes to sign an order instructing federal agencies to cease all programs that promote the concept of gender transition. He has also suggested that he will take a stand against abortion however he has not stated the limitations.

Nikki Haley

Haley is an politician and diplomat who announced her campaign in February 2023. She was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004 and served three terms before being elected as governor in 2010. This made her South Carolina's first female governor and the second American state governor of Indian descent. She resigned in 2017 before serving as the 29th U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from January 2017 to December 2018. She held this position during the administration of Donald Trump. She stepped down from her position on December 31, 2018 and announced her presidential campaign in February 2023. Haley wishes to find a consensus on abortion, restart the "Remain in Mexico" policy, and she supports term limits for members of Congress as well as mental competency tests for those over the age of 75.

To see a full listing of the candidates that have filed to run for statewide office in the State of Florida, visit https://dos.elections.myflorida.com/candidates/

State Elections - Florida House of Representatives

Sarasota County CandidateS

STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 73

Fiona McFarland - REP

McFarland graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in Political Science in 2008. While in active duty, she completed her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chapel Hill's Kenan Flagler business school in 2013. In 2016 she transferred to the U.S. Navy Reserves. She has received two Navy Achievement Medals. During her civilian lifestyle, she worked as a consultant with global business management consulting firm McKinsey and Company.

Derek Reich - Dem

Reich was born in Sarasota before being raised in Venice and North Port. He graduated from Florida State University with his Bachelor's degree in Social Science Education in 2018. From there, he taught at Brookside Middle School for his last semester at FSU before moving on to teach the 2018-19 school year in Freedom High School in Orlando. He then returned to Sarasota and worked as a part-time substitute teacher while pursuing his Master's degree. He earned his Master's in Curriculum and Instruction in 2020.

STATe REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 74

James Buchanan - Rep

Buchanan has served in the Florida House of Representatives for the past two years and running again for the 2024 election. He has been a real estate agent since 2006 and has served as a broker and small business owner in Sarasota County since 2009. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Florida State University with a double major in Finance and Entrepreneurship before graduating with his MBA from the University of South Florida.

Michelle Pozzie - REP

Pozzie has been a resident of the Sarasota-Manatee area for 18 years, spending her time raising her family and home-schooling her children. She has a background in sales and customer service and teaching in the performing arts industry. She attended Columbia College in Chicago, studying performing arts. She will be graduating in the summer of 2024 from Full Sail University with her BA in Entertainment Business. She is an avid supporter of parental rights in education and medical freedom

Nancy M.H. Simpson - DEM

Simpson graduated with her BA in Economics from Georgie State University in 2012. She began working for Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA in 2016 before moving on as a Planning and Zoning Administrator in North Dakota. She left North Dakota approximately two years later to become a Senior Planner for Pasco County Government. She then became a Multi Modal Planner for Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization. Now, Simpson is the CEO and Founder of Hoover Floodplain Consulting.

MANATEE COUNTY CANDIDATES

state representative district 70

Mike Beltran - Rep

Beltran is a devoted husband and proud father who has been serving Central Florida for a decade. He's a Harvard-educated lawyer and was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to Judicial Nominating Committee.

State representative district 71

Will Robinson - ReP

Robinson is a real estate agent who was awarded "Lawyer of the Year" by The Best Lawyers in America. He focuses on real estate and local government law. Robinson graduated from the University of Notre Dame with his BA in Finance in 1997. He then graduated from Stetson University College of Law with his JD in 2000. Robinson was elected in 2018 to represent District 71 in the Florida House of Representatives and was re-elected subsequently.

state representative district 72

Tommy Gregory - REP

Gregory served in the United States Air Force for 20 years, achieving the title of lieutenant colonel before retiring in 2014. While his house was being built in Sarasota, Gregory spent 10 months doing missionary work in the Dominican Republic. Since he established residence in Sarasota, Gregory has served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, St. Martha Catholic School and Sarasota Republican Club.