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Six candidates are in the running for Manatee County Commission, District 1

Written by on Monday, May 13, 2024

The Bradenton Times has the details.

By Dawn Kitterman

The Bradenton Times

MANATEE COUNTY — The race for the Manatee County District 1 seat has officially drawn the most candidates among local 2024 races. While the seat is up for election this year, it currently sits vacant and will likely be filled by a gubernatorial appointment before the general election is held.

As of the close of this week, a total of six candidates have filed to run for James Satcher’s vacated District 1 seat. So far, the race has drawn more potential contenders than any other local race. The county commission District 5 race is the next highest, with four declared candidates.

Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Satcher—the former District 1 County Commissioner—to fill the Supervisor of Election vacancy on Friday, April 12. The appointment created the county commission vacancy. The District 1 seat was up for election this year, and Satcher had filed for re-election.

Following his appointment to SOE, Satcher withdrew his District 1 filing and reassigned his candidacy to the SOE race. Satcher must win the 2024 SOE election to continue serving in his new role beyond November.

The county commission vacancy created when the governor appointed Satcher as the Supervisor of Elections is anticipated to be filled ahead of the election by another DeSantis appointment. Though Satcher’s term was up this year—and the commission D1 seat up for election—without a gubernatorial appointment, D1 residents would be without representation on the commission for more than 150 days.

Three days after DeSantis announced Satcher’s appointment, Republican Keith Green filed as a candidate in the D1 race. Green, who had originally filed as a candidate for the County Commission District 7 At-Large seat, announced his change of race in a post on his campaign’s Facebook page.

Keith Green

Other candidates who have filed for Satcher’s former seat include Republican Carol Ann Felts, Republican Darin George, Republican Steven Metallo, NPA Jennifer Hamey, and Democrat Glenn Pearson.

Carol Ann Felts

Carol Felts

Carol Ann Felts is a dedicated community activist who has been engaged in local government for several years, including serving on the county’s citizen’s advisory ELMAC committee. This is Felts’ third time running for the county commission. She ran in 2020 as a D5 write-in candidate and filed in 2022 as a candidate for a county at-large seat.

Steven Metallo and Darin George are the most recent Republican candidates to enter the D1 race. Both candidates have yet to launch a campaign website or social media page.

Darin George

TBT attempted to reach George by email and phone for more information about his campaign but was unable to reach the candidate or receive a response before our publication deadline. Limited information about the candidate was located through internet research and campaign filing documents.

Darin George

According to his candidate filing documents, George is a resident of Ellenton. A LinkedIn account believed to be associated with George says that he is Vice President of Sales for a medical billing services company, PracticeForces. His profile also says he is a 1996 graduate of Auburn University having earned his Bachelor’s in Marketing.

George and his wife Karen are “The Movement Coordinators” at The Source Church, according to the church’s website.

Steven Metallo
Steven Metallo is a longtime Manatee County resident and school district educator.Metallo is the newest name to enter the race, filing just last week on May 9. According to a campaign press release, Metallo is a “Conservative Teacher and lifelong Republican” resident of Parrish.

Metallo is an Army veteran who was Airborne qualified. He has lived in Manatee County since 1976 and has been a resident of District 1 since 2004. He is a graduate of Manatee High School, where he currently teaches Advanced Economics and Government.

Metallo earned his Business Administration and Sociology degree from Troy University in 1989 and became a certified teacher the following year. He has taught in Manatee County Schools since 1990.

He is a husband and father, and he and his wife, Tasha, share two children.

“Governor DeSantis is truly America’s Governor,” Metallo said in his campaign’s press release. “And I’m running for the Manatee County Commission to ensure our citizens remain free and our God-given rights are protected. As an educator who teaches economics and government, I believe in American Democracy and the Free Market.”

“First and foremost, we need to get local government working on issues that affect affordability,” says Metallo. “Any regulations, fees or taxes that raise the cost of goods or services need to be suspended to give relief to residents, even if it is just temporarily.”

Metallo’s press release included a strong endorsement of Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells, who is running as an un-challenged incumbent this year.

A photo shared on Facebook by the Manatee High School Alumni Association featured Steven Metallo. The image is dated 1994. The photo’s caption says that Metallo was a varsity football coach under then-Head Coach Joe Kinnan.

The filing documents submitted by every local candidate are available on the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections website for public review.

In the filing documents of D1 candidates Hamey, Felts, George, Green, and Pearson, each candidate has designated themselves or their spouse (or both themselves and their spouse) as their campaign’s treasurers. Metallo is the only candidate who has appointed a treasurer other than himself or his spouse.

Metallo’s designated treasurer is reported as Wendy White.

White has appeared as the designated treasurer for other local candidates. In the 2024 races, local candidates Ray Turner, Gene Brown, and James Satcher also designated White as their campaign treasurers.

Turner—who joined the commission by gubernatorial appointment—is running in the D5 commission race, hoping to remain in the role. Brown is the incumbent for the City of Bradenton’s Mayorial race, and Satcher is running for SOE.

In 2022, White was also the designated campaign treasurer for D4 Commissioner Mike Rahn.

The political consultant

On each of the above candidates’ treasurer forms and Metallo’s, the designated bank is listed as The Bank of Tampa, and White’s address is reported as 1509 East 9th Avenue, Tampa, Florida. White’s address is the same as that of the political consulting firm SIMWINS, whose founder is Anthony Pedicini.

Several Manatee County Commissioners and candidates are past or current clients of Pedicini’s, including Satcher, former D1 Commissioner and current SOE candidate; D2 Commissioner Amanda Ballard; D3 Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge; D4 Commissioner Rahn; D5 Commissioner Turner; and D6 At-Large Commissioner Jason Bearden.

Current and incumbent D7 At-Large Commissioner George Kruse is also a former client of Pedicini’s. Kruse hired Pedicini in 2020 when he first ran for election but has since stated publicly that he and the political consultant have parted ways and Pedicini will not be his advisor in the 2024 race.

The county’s former D5 commissioner, Vanessa Baugh, was also a confirmed client of Pedicini’s. In 2023, Pedicini resigned from representing Baugh via text message, and shortly after Pedicini resigned as Baugh’s political consultant, Baugh resigned from the commission. Commissioner Turner was appointed by the governor in her place.

In a follow-up email, TBT asked Metallo whether he, too, had hired Pedicini as his campaign consultant, but we were unable to get a response before this story’s publication.

Glenn Pearson

Democratic Candidate Glenn Pearson entered the District 1 race last month. Pearson has lived in the county’s District 1 for nine years, having lived in Ellenton and Parrish. He is a small business owner who operates a financial services company. He previously worked as a television journalist and was a news anchor for WNBC in Detroit, Hartford, Kansas City, Boston, Orlando, and New York.

Pearson is the current President of the Manatee County Democratic Black Caucus and says he is running to “restore trust” in the Manatee County Commission.

Glenn Pearson

A campaign flyer provided to TBT by Pearson includes, “For too long, our commissioners have been preoccupied with matters that, while important on a larger scale, do not directly address the pressing issues affecting us here in Manatee County. Immigration and abortion may dominate headlines, but they do little to solve the everyday problems of our residents.”

As a D1 commissioner, Pearson vows to listen to his constituents’ concerns and advocate for District 1 residents.

In a message included on his campaign website, Pearson writes, “I’m hearing the same concerns over infrastructure, the environment and lack of transparency by BOCC members from my neighbors and residents of District 1, regardless of party affiliation. These are nonpartisan issues. I pledge to work in a nonpartisan way to address those concerns.”

Some goals outlined by Pearson’s campaign include managing growth with an eye toward community and not special interests, ensuring adequate infrastructure to support growth, protecting the environment, including local wetlands and waterways, and championing affordable housing projects.

Jennifer Hamey

Jennifer Hamey, a local attorney and Parrish resident, is the only NPA (no-party affiliation) candidate to have entered the race.

Hamey says she has been a registered Republican and Democrat in the past but ultimately decided she did not fit in either box. Instead, she said she chooses to focus on the issues facing her district and the county from a nonpartisan perspective “in order to find active solutions, not just more divisive rhetoric that leads to inaction on the real issues.”

“Manatee County residents, and more specifically District 1, have a lot of needs that are not being met,” wrote Hamey in a press release. “There are environmental concerns, infrastructure deficiencies, lack of communication by our current representatives, and a failure to understand the real needs of the community residents and businesses in the area.”

Jennifer Hamey

With an anticipated appointment to the D1 commission seat by Gov. DeSantis before the November election, multiple candidates have confirmed to TBT that they have also submitted applications to the governor’s office to be considered for the appointment.

Candidates Hamey and Felts have confirmed having applied for the appointment.

Speaking by phone, Candidate Green declined to comment, telling TBT, “You may need to submit a request to the appropriate agency for that information…I would rather not speak on that and prefer to let the process play out.”

In our follow-up email to Candidate Metallo, we asked whether he had applied for the appointment. Unfortunately, we did not hear back from Metallo before our publication deadline.

To appear on the ballot come August primaries and November general election; candidates must complete the qualification process by June 14 at noon. Qualifying begins at noon on Monday, June 10.

Candidates can qualify by collecting the required number of verified candidate petitions or by paying a qualification fee.

Dawn Kitterman is a staff reporter and investigative journalist for The Bradenton Times covering local government news. She can be reached at dawn.kitterman@thebradentontimes.com.