Bevan withdraws from race
Siesta Key construction company owner Mike Cosentino well exceeded Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody in contributions accepted in March for the Democratic race for the District 2 seat on the Sarasota County Commission, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office records show.
Cosentino reported taking in $38,270, compared to Brody’s $17,100 that month, the reports say. However, Cosentino gave $35,000 of that amount to his campaign, according to his report. He received 10 other contributions that contributed to his total.
Section 106.08 of the Florida Statues says that no limit exists on how much money a candidate can contribute to his or her campaign.
Brody still is slightly ahead of Cosentino in total contributions, the reports show. While Cosentino has $39,698.81, Brody’s add up to $42,488.
However, Brody has spent $2,285.12 of his funds, while Cosentino reported no expenditures for February and March.
The most recent filer in that race, former Sarasota Mayor Fredd Atkins, has picked up donations totaling $750, and he has spent $215.90, his records note.
All three men are vying for the seat that Republican Christian Ziegler won in November 2018.
As of the deadline for this issue of The Sarasota News Leader, Ziegler had yet to file for re-election, and no other Republican candidate had put her or his figurative hat into the race.
Ziegler also is vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida.
When the county commissioners voted last year to approve new district boundaries, on the basis of the 2020 Census data, Ziegler dissented. His choice was a map that would have flip-flopped Districts 1 and 2.
Following the County Commission’s redistricting in November 2019, District 2 was left as the only Democratic-majority district of the five from which county commissioners are elected, community political watchers have told the News Leader.
Most of Newtown, the City of Sarasota’s historically African-American community, is contained within District 2. Prior to the 2019 redistricting, members of the public pointed out that voters in Newtown have a long history of supporting Democratic candidates.
Newtown is where Atkins lives, his campaign records show. His residence is on 35thStreet, slightly northeast of Booker High School.
In other news about the District 2 Democratic race, former Charlotte County resident Andrew Bevan, who had moved to Sarasota, has withdrawn from the campaign, Supervisor of Elections Office records show.
Barbara Bain, public information coordinator for the Supervisor of Elections Office, told the News Leader that Bevan submitted his withdrawal letter on March 29; staff received it on March 30 and changed his status to “Withdrawn” that day.
Bevan, who holds a law degree, also had filed to run against U.S. Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota for the U.S. House District 17 seat. Florida Division of Elections records still show Bevan as a candidate in that race. However, Federal Election Commission data does not list Bevan among Steube’s opponents.
Bevan reported no contributions for the District 2 campaign, according to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office.
28 more contributions for Brody
In his latest campaign finance report, City Commissioner Brody noted 28 new contributions.
Among the individuals who gave him $1,000 — the maximum allowed by state law — were architect Damien Blumetti, who is a member of the City of Sarasota’s Planning Board, plus Blumetti’s architecture firm; the Sarasota law firm of Mallard Perez; J. Scott Eller, CEO of the nonprofit affordable housing firm Community Assisted & Supported Living (CASL); Tyler Oakley, vice president of finance and accounting for the Sarasota investment firm Baird Inc.; Joseph Wimberly, who is the registered agent for Vision Investments Group Enterprises LLC, which has a Jacksonville address; Joseph Cincotta whose firm, Cincotta, was the developer of the Sarasota Modern hotel, and his wife, Barbara, whose address is on Boulevard of the Presidents on Lido Key; David Chessler of Chessler Holdings in Sarasota; and attorneys Charlie Ann Syprett and Chip Gaylor, both of whom live on Siesta Key.
Two of the owners of the Daiquiri Deck restaurants — whose first establishment was built in Siesta Village — also contributed to Brody. Troy Syprett, the majority owner, gave Brody $500, the latest campaign finance form shows. (Syprett is the stepson of Charlie Ann Syprett). Minority owner Matt Grover contributed $200 to Brody.
Additionally, Crystal Bailey, general counsel to Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman, gave Brody $250. Her husband, attorney Charles D. Bailey III of the Williams Parker firm in Sarasota, often has been a member of development teams that appear before the County Commission. Charlie Bailey was one of the representatives of Siesta businessman Dr. Gary Kompothecras when Kompothecras won County Commission approval in November 2021, on a 4-1 vote, to build a seven-story, 120-room hotel on Old Stickney Point Road, plus a five-story parking garage that would stand between Old Stickney Point Road and Stickney Point Road.
Yet another Siesta resident, Barbara Lancer — whose husband, Jay, has been a partner in real estate ownership with Charlie Ann Syprett’s husband, Jim Syprett — gave Brody a $500 contribution.
Additionally, Christine Jennings, former chair of the Democratic Party of Sarasota County, gave Brody $100 in March.
In regard to expenditures: Brody listed a total of $1,493.58 in March.
Brody’s highest expense last month went to Sprout Blue LLC of Boca Raton for consulting: $900. He also paid $78.88 to Brick’s Smoked Meats on State Street in Sarasota for a campaign meeting.
The rest of the money went to Stripe, a web-based company, in the form of processing fees, the report notes.
The largest contribution Cosentino received in March — outside of the funds he gave his campaign — was $1,000, which came from Greg Anderson, retired principal of Anderson Asphalt & Concrete Services LLC in Sarasota, the report shows.
Three Venice residents gave Cosentino $500 apiece: Sue Lang, a former member of the Venice City Council, and Steve Trombeta, who share an address; and Catherine Rodriguez.
Other contributions Cosentino received ranged from $20 to $100.
Atkins’ first campaign finance report
In his first finance report since he filed for the District 2 seat, former Sarasota Mayor Atkins listed a $200 loan that he had made to his campaign.
Additionally, Shelia Atkins, his wife, contributed $500; and Ollie K. Adams of Palmetto, a teacher, gave Atkins $50.
Atkins also reported $215.90 in expenditures. The largest portion — $141 — went to the U.S. Postal Service for stamps and rental of a mailbox, the report says. He paid the remaining $74.90 to 301 Kwikie Inc. on North Washington Boulevard in Sarasota for copies of petitions.
If he wins enough signatures of voters in his district, he will not have to pay the filing fee for the District 2 race. Last month, Paul Donnelly, director of communications and voter outreach for the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office, told the News Leader that the filing fee for partisan races this year is $5,576.10.
“A candidate can avoid the filing fee if he/she elects to use the petition process,” Donnelly added in his March 23 email. “In that case, a candidate would need to gather 681 petitions (340,092 registered voters divided by 5 x 1%) to qualify without the fee.”