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Manatee County supervisor of elections to retire in March

Written by on Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Bennett suggests governor replace him with his second-in-command.

By Dennis ‘Mitch’ Maley

The Bradenton Times

 

Bennett

BRADENTON — Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett has announced that he will retire effective March 1. First elected as SOE in 2012, Bennett had previously represented Manatee County in the Florida Senate.

“I have spent a fabulous twenty-two years in the service of the people of the state of Florida,” Bennett wrote in a statement released Tuesday. “These years have been the highlight of my life, and it is with some regret that I have decided to retire effective March 1, 2024. Life is an ever-changing tapestry, and I would like to spend the rest of my time with my family, friends and on my various hobbies and charities. I have every expectation that Manatee County Elections office is in the tremendously capable hands of the very experienced staff I leave behind and look to the Governor’s office to appoint an exceptional person to finish my term of office. Thank you for allowing me the honor to serve you in public office. I look forward to the future!”

Bennett inherited big shoes to fill, winning the office following the retirement of Bob Sweat, one of the most respected supervisors of elections in Florida history. Many voters worried that Bennett, one of the most powerful Republicans in the state at the time, was too partisan for the position, but he quickly proved himself more than adept at running fair and secure elections, while working to keep up with technological innovations that would encourage voter turnout. He was easily reelected in 2016 and 2020.

In his resignation letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis, Bennett urged the governor to consider his long-time chief of staff when appointing a successor to serve the remainder of his four-year term, which ends this year.

“As I am now submitting my resignation effective March 1, 2024, I would ask that you strongly consider appointing my Chief of Staff, Scott Farrington, to finish out my term,” wrote Bennett. “I cannot believe there is a better, more accomplished, or more knowledgeable person than Scott to fill this position.

“Scott has over twenty years of election experience and has been the key to the efficiency of this office and is well-known in the election community for his leadership and knowledge.

“So, I am asking that you look to Scott first as you seek the right candidate for the position to ensure that the upcoming elections proceed with as few conflicts as possible.”

Mr. Bennett joined us for an episode of The Bradenton Times Podcast in June of 2022. Click here to listen to the episode.

 

This article first appeared in The Bradenton Times. To read the original version, click here.