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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 the three elections offices in Sarasota, Venice, or North Port, by phone at 941-861-8618 or online at SarasotaVotes.gov/VotebyMail.

Republican & Democratic Party Candidates

Donald Trump - rep

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. Deploying the military domestically to fight crime, a big tax on foreign imports and “record-setting” deportations are among Trump’s main 2024 pledges (NBC). Trump intends to slash the federal Education department entirely, a 4,400-person operation with a $68 billion budget. Trump claims this would give full educational authority back to the states, even though an elimination of the department wouldn’t directly transfer over any new state power. One of Trump’s most consistent talking points on the trail centers on his intention to prosecute Biden if he regains executive power.

JOe Biden - DEM

President Joe Biden announced he would seek another term in April 2023, telling Americans at the time, “Let’s finish the job.” Biden said the country remains in a "battle for the soul of America,” and his first public remarks after announcing his candidacy were delivered to a group of union workers. Before he was elected president, Biden served as vice president in former President Barack Obama’s administration and spent decades in the Senate. Biden's campaign has highlighted the work of his administration, including the creation of new jobs, the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the United States Chips and Science Act, and the provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 that addressed climate change and allowed Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.[6] Click here to read more about the Biden administration. A Biden campaign ad outlined his policy priorities for a second term, saying he'd work to make childcare and elder care more accessible, protect Social Security and Medicare, enact a minimum tax for billionaires, codify the right to abortion, ban assault weapons, and support voting rights. He criticized the Republican Party, saying, "MAGA extremists are [...] cutting Social Security that you paid for your entire life while cutting taxes for the very wealthy, dictating what healthcare decisions women can make, banning books, and telling people who they can love. All while making it more difficult for you to be able to vote."

Robert Kennedy Jr - IND

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s career of public service began in 1985 as an attorney for the environmental nonprofit RiverKeeper. He eventually became one of the most influential environmentalists in the United States, receiving TIME Magazine's "Hero of the Planet” and the Sartisky Peace Award. An anti-vaccine advocate, the 70-year-old Kennedy is campaigning on a platform targeting institutions such as pharmaceutical and tech companies.

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/

United States - Senate

Candidates

Rick Scott - REP

Scott was elected in 2018 and is currently serving is first term representing the state of Florida. He previously served two terms as the 45th Governor of Florida from 2011 to 2019. Scott served in the U.S. Navy for more than two years before attending the University of Missouri and earning his BA in business administration in 1975. He then went on to earn his JD from Southern Methodist University in 1978. Scott made the decision to run for Governor following Florida's economic collapse. During his time, he focused on repairing Florida's economy.

Keith Gross - Rep

Raised by a single mother in the Florida panhandle, Keith Gross is the definition of an American success story. He worked his way through school, beat the odds, and built his businesses right here in Florida. Like Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan, Keith wasn't always a registered Republican. But ever since Donald Trump came down that escalator in 2015 to announce his candidacy, Keith has been a tried and true Trump supporter. The US Constitution is the greatest governing document in the world by far. Our Founding Fathers trusted us to not only be free, but to fight for freedom whenever necessary. Keith believes in freedom and stands firmly against government control.

John Columbus - Rep

Columbus Platform from his website: We have come to a precipice; social media has wedged contentious divides among the citizens, and polarized echo chambers leave no room for dignified discussions when it comes to our disagreements. I believe Congress needs more diplomates who are willing to make mutual concessions. We often find ourselves in a perpetual stalemate, unable to compromise for the good of the country. I would help foster an environment where both sides win, instead of working to completely defeat each other. While we We live in a world, not of 'facts and fictions,’ but of ‘facts and alternative facts.’ Critically thinking about which representative to vote for has taken a backseat to following politicians who produce partisan theater. I believe we agree on more issues than we realize, and should make good faith attempts at legislating for the people by starting from a place of commonality. Let’s recognize one another first as fellow Americans, honoring the respect each one of us deserves; legislating from a place of honest listening is how meaningful legislation can be created. Heed the advice of George Washington, and avoid petty party scraps, instead, promote positive bipartisan.

Stanley Campbell - Dem

Campbell was born and raised in Miami, graduating from Miami Beach High before studying physics and mathematics at Florida A&M University. He then went on to serve as a U.S. Navy Pilot. Campbell is committed to bipartisan collaboration, economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and social justice. His campaign supports addressing climate change, making efforts towards affordable healthcare, and providing quality education for the residents of Florida.

Debbie Mucarsell-Powell - DEM

Powell was born in Ecuador and immigrated to the U.S. with her mother and sisters when she was young. After making it through high school, she earned her BA in political science from Pitzer College in 1992. She then went on to earn her MA in international political economics from Claremont Graduate University in 1996. She then worked for Florida International University's College of Health and Medicine, leading a program to expand affordable healthcare. She served as a U.S. representative for Florida's 26th congressional district, making her the first Ecuadorian American and South American-born immigrant to serve in Congress.

Brian Rush - DEM

At age 28, Brian P. Rush was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, representing Northwest Tampa and Northern Pinellas County for eight years. While in the House of Representatives, Brian Rush was a champion of public schools and a leader in providing additional financial support and funding for public schools and public universities. He was recognized for protecting air and water quality when he served on the House Environmental Regulation Committee and chaired the Water Resources Subcommittee. Brian Rush actively supported enhanced water quality protections and mandated clean-up of groundwater caused by industrial and petroleum polluters. Brian Rush also served on the House Healthcare Committee and took an active role in legislation designed to protect patients from financial exploitation arising from healthcare providers’ prohibited self-referral. Brian Rush has practiced law in his north Tampa office for over 30 years defending small businesses and Floridians’ First Amendment Rights.

Rod Joseph - Dem

Born in Haiti, Rod migrated to the United States at a tender age, setting the stage for a life defined by sacrifice and commitment. His military career saw him contribute significantly to the nation’s defense as a combat war veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He was nicknamed “The Truth” for his steadfast adherence to honesty and integrity. A scholar and an author, Rod holds Master's degrees in Military Studies, History of War, and Diplomacy and Military Studies, alongside a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Forensics. His diverse military background, including roles as a Logistics Officer and Paralegal NCO, reflects his commitment to excellence and service.

Feena Bonoan - LIB

As a U.S. Senate candidate, Bonoan is focused on advocating for policies that promote economic prosperity, protect civil liberties, and ensure a more peaceful and cooperative international stance. She is committed to fighting for tax reform that eases the burden on individuals and businesses, advocating for criminal justice reform, and pushing for an end to unnecessary foreign interventions that compromise America's security and fiscal stability. Bonoan's journey is marked by an unwavering commitment to the Libertarian principles of limited government, personal freedom, and fiscal responsibility.

Ben Everidge - NPA

Ben has a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies from American University in Washington, D.C., where he attended full-time while working on Capitol Hill as a congressional aide. Ben later earned his Master’s degree in American government from Georgetown University, where he was named a University Fellow. Ben subsequently served on Bill Nelson's congressional staff for a decade. Today, Ben is the Managing Partner of Cannon & Caius, a strategic consulting practice that empowers preeminent wealth to do great social collaborative good. Knowing that independents would be a more dominant force in American politics if they were organized into a broad-based party, Ben has been organizing that effort by launching the 21st Century Democratic-Republican Party (DRP) this year. The DRP is a successor party to that formed by Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson and father of the United States Constitution James Madison in 1792 when our nation first emerged after the American Revolution.

Tuan Nguyen - NPA

Tuan “TQ” Nguyen came to the United States in 1997 and has established residence in the great state of Florida since 2003. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, witnessing the poverty and suffering of the Vietnamese people under the communist rule has instilled in him compassion and a sense of justice. After having managed to flee the Vietnamese communist regime, TQ had the opportunity to live, study and work in several countries. He also had the opportunities to visit all the five continents and hence acquired a broad understanding of different systems of government and state institutions. Being an engineer by profession and a human rights advocate by vocation, TQ has blended his experiences into a unique skill set that focuses on problem-solving to help those who are the less fortunate such as victims of human rights violations and religious persecutions. TQ holds a M.Sc. in Global Strategic Communication from Florida Institute of Technology, a M.Sc. in Information Technology Management from Creighton University and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Concordia University.

United States - House of Representatives

Sarasota County Candidates

United States Representative District 17

Greg Steube - REP

Steube served two years in the Florida Senate and six years in the Florida House. After graduating from the University of Florida with both undergraduate and law degrees, Steube enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving with distinction from 2004 to 2008. Steube currently serves the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Federal Government. Steube advocates for small businesses, ranchers and farmers, and Florida seniors. He also supports putting Americans first and has conservative immigration policies.

Manny Lopez - DEM

Lopez previously served as a member of the Whitney, Texas School Board from 1993 to 1996. During that time, he also served on the executive board of the Central Texas Economic Development Council for four years. He served in the U.S. army and as a firefighter for the Key West Fire Department. He served as captain of the Sarasota Chalf Festival in Venice. In 2014, he served as chairman on the Sarasota Board of Realtors. Lopez plans to focus on infrastructure development, healthcare, and education.

Matthew Montavon - DEM

Montavon earned a BA in political science and Spanish from The Catholic University of America. He was later awarded the Lilly Endowment Fellowship in support of his work at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Montavon is determined to listen to the people. He plans to focus on issues such as environment, affordable housing, social security, the working class, and protecting individual rights.

Manatee County Candidates

United States Representative District 16

Jan Schneider - DEM

Schneider has earned her BA from Brown University, a certificate from the University of Geneva, a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, and a JD from Yale Law School. Her professional experience includes working for the Law Offices of Jan Schneider, serving as president and director of U.S. East Inc., working for the United Nations, and working as an adjunct professor at the American University Law School. Schneider plans to focus on reducing energy costs while securing reliable energy sources. She also wishes to contribute to environmental protections.

Trent Miller - DEM

A graduate of The Delaware Law School - Widener University School of Law,, Trent began his career on the east coast of Florida and made partner in an established Miami-based insurance defense firm, opening their flagship office in southwest Florida in 2001. Splitting from that firm in early 2007, Trent established Miller & Miller - with then partner and wife, Lesa Miller, Esq. The Lakewood Ranch Democrats Club was founded in 2008 in the living room of Miller's home and he served as its first president. A resident of Bradenton for over a decade, Trent enjoys sports, movies and spending time with his wife of over 15 years and four children.

Vern Buchanan - REP - Incumbent

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is co-chair of the bipartisan 30-member Florida congressional delegation and Vice Chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, international trade, health care, welfare, Social Security and Medicare. Buchanan is the most senior Republican on the committee and currently serves as Chairman of the Health Subcommittee, a key panel that has broad jurisdiction over traditional Medicare, the Medicare prescription drug benefit and Medicare Advantage. Buchanan has also been ranked one of the most bipartisan and effective members of Congress by two respected non-partisan organizations: the Lugar Center and the Center for Effective Lawmaking. In 2020, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also rated Congressman Vern Buchanan the highest among the 29-member Florida congressional delegation for his record of bipartisanship and creating jobs.

Eddie Speir - REP

Speir graduated with a degree in Computer Information Systems from the University of Northern Colorado. He immediately started a computer consulting firm in 1994. Five years later, he launched a financial software company. He later sold the company in 2010 and moved to Manatee County. In 2013, he started a private Christian school in Bradenton called Inspiration Academy. He is a current trustee for New College of Florida's Board of Trustees.

State Elections - Florida House of Representatives

Sarasota County Florida House CandidateS

HD 73 covers covers most of Sarasota west of I-75 down to Venice. Voter registration numbers for this District from the October 2022 2Election.

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

HD 74 covers Sarasota east of I-75 and a portion of North Sarasota east of US41. Voter registration numbers for this District from the October 2022 Election.

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.

Florida house District 75 - South Sarasota

HD 75 covers parts of Charlotte and Sarasota counties and was drawn to elect a Republican. Voter registration numbers show that the GOP held a two-to-one advantage over Democrats as of October.

Tony Dunbar - DEM

Tony Dunbar made Englewood his permanent home in 2018, after being a frequent visitor to our area since 1966. He retired from a thirty-year law practice in New Orleans and Texas, primarily managing financial litigation and commercial transactions for local and national banks. While in New Orleans, he volunteered to help protect abused and neglected children through his service on the board of CASA, a Guardian ad Litem program. Concerned about the ethical practice of law, he chaired a Bar Association panel charged with hearing legal and ethical complaints against attorneys. Tony has always had a keen interest in preserving Florida's natural beauty. Shortly after moving here, he completed the University of Florida's Certified Florida Master Naturalist program. He joined the board of the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center and he volunteers weekly at both the Cedar Point Environmental Center and the Lemon Bay Environmental Park. Tony is committed to preserving our country's democracy and passing it on to the next generation. He is the award-winning author of numerous non-fiction books about the South and civil rights as well as more than a dozen mystery novels. Tony and life-time partner, Nancy Shoemaker, live in Englewood. Their family includes three children, Sam, John Henry and Annalisa, and grandchildren.

Danny Nix Jr - REP

Nix has lived in Southwest Florida for the past 12 years and currently works as a Realtor at Coldwell Banker Sunstar. A campaign news release said he plans to use his professional experience “to help solve Florida’s housing crisis.” His resumé lists numerous board positions — he is a past Chair and former Trustee of the Board for Florida Southwestern State College and the former President of the Economic Development Partnership of Charlotte County. He is also the current President of the Realtors of Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and DeSoto, Inc. The campaign announcement also included plaudits for Gov. Ron DeSantis. “Gov. DeSantis has inspired me to answer the call to serve. His leadership on protecting and defending our freedoms is unmatched and, as a freedom-loving Floridian, I plan on focusing on continuing that fight,” Nix said. Nix and his wife, Carla, have two children.

MANATEE COUNTY Florida House CANDIDATES

state representative district 70

HD 70 covers northwest Manatee County and South Hillsborough County . Voter registration numbers for this District from the October 2022 2Election.

Michael Owen - Rep

Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Michael Owen filed to run for this seat after Mike Beltran's surprise announcement that he would not run for re-election.

Luther Keith Wilkins - Dem

No information currently available.

State representative district 71

HD 71 covers west Manatee County . Voter registration numbers for this District from the October 2022 Election.

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.

Adrianne DeVilliers - DEM

DeVilliers is a first generation immigrant American and a civil engineer. Initially a Republican voter, DeVilliers grew disillusioned with the party’s shift towards divisiveness and hostility. He is passionate about working with people from all walks of life to bridge our divides and create a future filled with opportunity and hope.

state representative district 72

HD 72 covers the eastern part of Manatee County. Voter registration numbers for this District from the October 2022 Election.

Bill Conerly - REP

A shareholder with engineering consulting firm Kimley-Horn, the professional engineer plans to run on an “America First” agenda. He served for 12 years on the Manatee County Planning Commission, including time as its chairman. Conerly is a fifth generation Floridian raised in South Florida. He served in the U.S. Navy for nearly six years and returned to civilian life to pursue further education in engineering. He said the top three issues state legislators should address are housing affordability, infrastructure needs, and additional insurance reform. He took a pro-life stance, and he supports Florida’s six-week abortion ban. He said communities built with a master plan in place, such as Lakewood Ranch and Wellen Park, are examples of smart growth by incorporating road and utility infrastructure along with new homes. He said his opinion on home rule varies and is supportive of some state efforts such as the Live Local initiative. He supports Donald Trump’s illegal immigration platform in his run for presidency, and that the state needs to defend against issues that arise from illegal immigration and immigration friendly policies often seen in other states. (Herald-Tribune - Jesse Mendoza, 5/21/24)​ “Florida is at a crossroads. We can continue to kick the can down the road, year after year, on issues like immigration, insurance and our quality of life or we can act. I am running to take quick action, just like President (Donald) Trump,” Conerly said. (Jacob Ogles- Florida Politics)

Rich Tatum - REP

Colonel Tatem is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. Colonel Tatem had an extensive 30-year military career in the United States Air Force as a pilot, assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy, and as a leadership educator and executive coach. After retiring from the Air Force, Tatem continued his leadership education work, wrote the book “Interviews With The Founders: the way America is now - and the way America is supposed to be” and hosted a patriotic radio show and podcast. On the Manatee County School Board, he has been a strong advocate for school choice and safety, parental rights and input, decentralization, and classical education. Tatem said the top three issues state legislators should address are unfunded mandates, infrastructure needs, and environmental concerns. He took a prolife stance, and he supports Florida’s six-week abortion ban. He said smart growth balances environmental needs and necessary development to accommodate population growth through careful consideration for zoning and planning for proper infrastructure. He said that local home rule is preferable, but said areas where there are multiple municipalities close together can go overboard with local regulations. He believes illegal immigration is a federal matter but said there are things state government can address such as concerns over sanctuary cities and supporting local law enforcement. (Herald-Tribune - Jesse Mendoza, 5/21/24)

Alyssa Gay - REP

Gay, a graduate of SCF and later the University of Florida, has been active in local organizations including North River Care Pregnancy Center and Realize Bradenton. Gay is an entrepreneur who founded her marketing business, AG Creative, in 2017 after years of working as a social media specialist for Authority Insurance. She previously served as a Florida District 73 aide under former state representative Greg Steube. Gay said the top three issues state legislators should address are costs of living and housing affordability, workforce education and infrastructure needs. She took a pro-life stance, and she supports Florida’s six-week abortion ban. She said growth is necessary, but that it is important to find a balance between smart growth, the environmental offerings and agricultural needs. She said home rule is the best form of government, and prefers to keep government small and efficient. She believes that illegal immigration is directly affecting housing costs, the costs of living and road quality, and said first responders need to be funded and trained to deal with illegal immigration matters when federal enforcement does not. (Herald-Tribune - Jesse Mendoza, 5/21/24)

Richard Green - REP

Green is a senior attorney with the Lewis, Longman & Walker law firm. He is experienced in real estate, land use development and environmental matters. He also serves on the Sarasota Medical Pregnancy Center board where he advocates for pro-life medical care for underserved women.
Green said the top three issues state legislators should address are rising costs, environmental concerns and additional insurance reform. He took a pro-life stance, and he supports Florida’s six-week abortion ban. He said communities built with a master plan in place have been the best example of smart growth, but cautioned about the political power often granted to developers who spearhead those efforts. He said that, in general, he disagrees with state pre-emptions of home rule although he understands the reasons for it. He believes illegal immigration is a federal matter and is not including the matter as a part of his platform for state office. (Herald-Tribune - Jesse Mendoza, 5/21/24)

Lesa Miller - DEM

Miller has lived in Manatee County since 1987 and is a graduate of the University of South Florida and Stetson College of Law. She is currently the COO of Scout Comics – a start-up comic publishing company headquartered in Fort Myers. She has four daughters. Women's healthcare is healthcare. Lesa fully supports Florida's Constitutional Amendment 4 to enshrine this right for Florida's families. As the child of teachers and the mother of four children, education is a top priority for Miller.

State Attorney - 12th Circuit

Candidates

STATE ATTORNEY ED BRODSKY WAS RE-ELECTED WITHOUT OPPOSITION. 

Ed Brodsky

Brodsky has served as the State Attorney since January of 2013. This is his third term as State Attorney and is currently running for reelection. Brodsky served as a reserve police officer and with the Florida Army National Guard Military Police. He earned his degree in Criminology from the University of South Florida before enrolling in Nova University Law School where he earned his law degree. Brodsky briefly worked in the 17th Circuit in Broward County before moving to Manatee County.

Public Defender - 12th Circuit

Candidates

PUBLIC DEFENDER LARRY EGER WAS RE-ELECTED WITHOUT OPPOSITION. 

Larry Eger

Eger earned his BA and JD from the University of Florida. He has spent over 25 years working in the Public Defender's Office and currently serves as the head of the Manatee County division Public Defender's Office. He manages over 20 attorneys and 40 employees in total.