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Venice Elects two New City Council Members

Written by on Thursday, November 9, 2023

The largely Republican city picks two Democrats. One of them by landslide.

By Johannes Werner

Original Air Date: Nov. 8, 2023

Johannes Werner: Venice voters elected two Democrats to the Venice city council yesterday, one of them by landslide. Joan Farrell beat incumbent Mitzie Fiedler with 52.3% of the vote, according to unofficial results; Ron Smith won with 61.8% against newcomer Dusty Feller. The turnout was 40.62%, fairly high for a standalone local election.

This is technically a non-partisan race, but the Democrats have organized canvassing and other support for the two winners.

The Sarasota Republican Party has much more openly supported the two Republicans, on a variety of levels. Yesterday, the Sarasota Republican Party posted on their Facebook page a last call, urging Republicans to “protect Venice from progressive, leftist Democratic leadership”.

New in the Venice city council: Farrell, l., and Smith, r. Photos: League of Women Voters Sarasota


In the City of Venice, registered Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly 2:1, which makes the outcome surprising. Smith and Farrell ran on platforms in support of neighborhoods.

Dan Kuether, chairman of the Sarasota County Democrats, said this in a press release:

“It’s clear that the citizens of Venice are sick and tired of developers like Pat Neal buying these elections with inordinate amounts of money. It just goes to show that good policies and candidates on the side of the people can win any day of the week.”

In the course of the campaign, former Venice Mayor Ed Martin proposed a clean campaign pledge, with candidates promising to reject mudslinging, much of which is fed by third-party financed PACs. Only the two winners signed the pledge.

This has been Johannes Werner for WSLR News.


WSLR News aims to keep the local community informed with our 1/2 hour local news show, quarterly newspaper and social media feeds. The local news broadcast airs on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6pm.