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SRQ DAILY Aug 31, 2016

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"It shows the voters like what you are doing, both as far as the district and myself."

- Caroline Zucker, Sarasota School Board

[Politics]  Zucker, Baugh Win; Gruters, Steube, Alcock Advance
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Caroline Zucker will keep her seat on the Sarasota County School Board, Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh holds on to her spot on her own board and Manatee Property Appraiser Charles Hackney was re-elected, with the incumbents winning decisively in elections held Tuesday night. “I am really very happy about this,” says Zucker. “It shows the voters like what you are doing, both as far as the district and myself.”

But while those incumbents enjoyed clear leads throughout the night as votes were counted, political observers into the evening followed close legislative races in the region. The most closely watched contest was a state Senate race in District 23, where state Rep. Greg Steube beat out a crowded Republican field and New College professor Frank Alcock prevailed on the Democratic side. Steube had 15,217 votes to former state Rep. Doug Holder’s 12,805, former Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson’s 12,084, state Rep. Ray Pilon’s 6,802 and businessman Rick Levine’s 1,514. Alcock beat newcomer Frank Cirillo 17,029 to 12,132. Alcock says he always hoped to go against Steube, who ran on the most conservative platform among Republicans in the race. “It’s a clear contrast,” Alcock says. “It’s a stark contrast between myself and a staunch conservative, and I think I’m closer to where past folks have been who represented the district.” Steube touted his credentials online, saying: “This campaign has been about advancing common-sense conservative principles at the grassroots level.”

A state House race in District 73 between Republican Party of Sarasota Chairman Joe Gruters and Manatee conservative activist Steve Vernon came down to the wire, with Gruters winning with 10,342 votes to 9,958, a mere 384-vote difference. Gruters acknowledged that when it was clear he had lost Manatee County by a few hundred votes, he worried totals in Sarasota wouldn’t make up the difference. After a number of mailers were sent out in the past week by political committees critical of Gruters, he feared the worst. “But Steve ran a great campaign and made this competitive until the end,” Gruters says. He faces Democrat James Golden, a former Bradenton councilman, in November.

St. Petersburg Councilman Newt Newton won a Democratic primary in left-leaning District 70, handily beating businessman Dan Florin and former Manatee Democratic Party chairman CJ Czaia, and he will now face Sarasota Republican Cori Fournier in November. Former Sarasota Public Hospital Board trustee Alex Miller won the GOP primary in District 72 to retired news anchor John Hill, and will now face Sarasota Democrat Edward James III. And North Port Democrat Manny Lopez won a primary over Jerry Nicastro in District 74, and will now challenge incumbent Republican state Rep. Julio Gonzalez.

In the US Senate race, incumbent Marco Rubio held Manatee developer and primary challenger Carlos Beruff to under 24 percent of the vote in Beruff’s home county. On the Republican side, Rep. Patrick Murphy cruised to the nomination, but a late push by Democrat Pam Keith, including a Monday stop in Sarasota, put her in third right behind Rep. Alan Grayson, considered a strong candidate until recent weeks. In a local Congressional race, Rep. Vern Buchanan easily won his primary and will now face Democrat Jan Schneider, who also won her primary, in November.

Priscilla Whisenant Trace came out ahead in a Manatee County Commission Republican primary, effectively winning a seat over Ron Reagan and Corie Holmes. Manatee School Board member Dave Miner won 46.5 percent of the vote, not enough to avoid a runoff in November with challenger Misty Servia for the District 3 seat. And in the District 1 seat on School Board, Gina Messenger and Edward Viltz continue to a contest in November. In Sarasota County, Planning Commissioner Mike Moran won a GOP primary against homeowners association leader Frank DiCicco and will advance to a general with Democrat Fredd Atkins, a former Sarasota Mayor.  

Photo: Frank Alcock; Greg Steube

[Good Bite]  Curb Your Cravings at the Creek
Aviel Kanter, aviel.kanter@srqme.com

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar represents all things classic Florida, from just-caught seafood, to water views to old-timey picnic tables and newspaper menus. While a neighborhood staple for decades, the Creek family regularly dreams up new ways to satisfy the cravings of their loyal patrons—the newest lunch specials highlighting a fusion of land and sea. The five dishes span a medley of styles, from Tex-Mex to Asian; the two noteworthy meals found in the Mahi Mahi noodle bowl and the Ahi tuna taco salad. The summer-friendly cold lo-mein noodles provide a bed for a massive piece of flaky white fish to sit, with toasted almonds, shredded veggies and a hoisin vinaigrette tossed underneath. The taco salad gets served in a crispy green taco shell, holding in blood-red seared tuna steak slices atop a guacamole slaw salad. Both plates perfectly are perfectly balanced for a lunchtime portion, with just enough left over for a dinner snack, each refreshing enough to be eaten outside even in the dead of Florida summer.  

Pictured, left to right: Ahi tuna taco salad. Mahi Mahi noodle bowl.

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar, 5353 South Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, 941-925-4444.

[Recognition]  JMX Brands Makes Inc. 5000 For Fourth Time

JMX Brands, the largest online retailer of Amish Furniture has jumped from position no. 1983 to no. 1187 on Inc. magazine’s 2016 list of fastest-growing private companies in the United States. JMX Brands has made the list for the fourth time. The Inc. 5000 list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment: its independent small business. The online retail company had a three-year growth rate of 328 percent.  

JMX Brands

[Recognition]  Jones Marks 30 Years At Syprett Meshad

Teresa D. Jones, Sarasota board-certified civil trial attorney, was recognized for 30 years of service with the law firm of Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, Lieb, Dumbaugh, Jones, Krotec & Westheimer, P.A. Jones has held her board certification every year since 1994 and in addition she is rated AV Preeminent by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings. Jones handles cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, insurance claims, premises liability, real property disputes, general litigation and appeals.  

Syprett Meshad

[Exec Moves]  Riddell Speaks At Seminar

Attorney Cynthia Riddell of Riddell Law Group in Sarasota was a speaker at the 36th Annual Legislative and Case Law Update Seminar. The Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section (RPPTL), the Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Law PAC and the RPPTL-PAC presented the seminar. Riddle discussed topics about the unlawful inducements, title insurance deserves and reinsurance at the day-long seminar in Palm Beach, Florida.  

Riddle Law Group

[Inside the Issue]  To the Races

This month, the lovely Katherine Harris invites SRQ into her French chateau-style home to explain what makes her tick. From finding peace in plant life (a trait inherited from her mother) to getting silly with her Bouvier des Flandres pup to bringing international events to Sarasota in the form of the Modern Pentathlon World Cup, the former politician guides us through what moves her forward in life.  

Read more

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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