Alcock, Steube Battle For Senate District 23



As a general election nears for an open state Senate seat representing Sarasota County, campaigns haven’t gotten so personal but both Republican Greg Steube and Democrat Frank Alcock have highlighted a difference in agenda.

Alcock, a long-time New College of Florida professor, knows District 23, which includes all of Sarasota County and northern Charlotte County, leans Republican but has traditionally been represented by moderate lawmakers like outgoing state Sen. Nancy Detert and past Sen. Lisa Carlton. “I’m more aligned with the past office-holders of this seat, and we need to have some diversity in our cohort in Tallahassee,” Alcock says. He hopes voters agree on positions like supporting a Medicaid expansion. He has also highlighted support for local school districts and critiqued Steube’s push to to allow concealed weapons on state college campuses.

But Steube, a six-year state representative looking to move into the upper chamber, says he would not have emerged the victor in a crowded primary field if the district didn’t desire conservative representation. He has been a supporter of high-quality education while defending the second amendment, and believes the district has come to favor his stance once given all the information, like learning concealed weapons permit holders are less likely than even police officers to commit crimes. But he also suggested Alcock can’t completely claim the record of “moderate.” “You have a choice between a conservative who has been a house member for six years and a liberal Democrat,” Steube says. “There is not anything in Frank Adcock’s record that puts him on the center right.”

Alcock took some issue with that, noting a more bullish opinion on economic development grants. “I’m not going to blanket rule out using government dollars to leverage our private sector investment,” he says. Pro-business positions like that, Alcock hopes, will bring in Chamber of Commerce-type Republicans who favored other choices than Steube in the primary. Steube says he will not support writing a “blank check” to private businesses to attract them here, though he still favors economic development tools like tax incentives and abatement measures. “But I won’t support anything where there is not a positive return on investment with the state,” Steube says.

Looking toward work in the Senate, Steube hopes being part of a 40-member body with no limit on the number of bills he can sponsor will mean a greater level of influence. He notes there could be 17 new senators in the new Legislature, and he hopes to get certain measures passed that previously stalled after winning House support. As for Alcock, who likely would be sworn in as a member of the minority party, he believes he would be an effective lawmaker representing a broader set of issues in the district.

Steube and Alcock are running in state Senate District 23. The general election is scheduled for November 8.

Pictured: Frank Alcock, Greg Steube.

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