Fairey, Gregory reach out to voters in District 73

Todays News


The first time David Fairey stood roadside waving signs and trying to convince voters in Lakewood Ranch and east Manatee to vote Democrat, he expected a lot of roadside curses and obscene gestures. There’s always a few, of course, but he said there’s also a surprising amount of support for his state House candidacy.

“A lot of Republicans are feeling dismayed at how marginalized they feel,” he said. “I’m not saying they will all vote for me,  but they feel discouraged by what they have seen. I feel like we are pulling our weight.”

He’s challenging state Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota, and believes dissatisfaction with the GOP in Washington and Tallahassee may produce some surprising results in House District 73.

Gregory, for his part, feels confident but takes nothing for granted. He disputes notions Republican majorities in the Florida Legislature ignore voter needs. Rather, as the state goes through a pandemic-led recession, he feels responsible maintenance of state reserves helped Florida endure the financial challenges this year better than most. But he knows there’s work to do.

“We have 750,000 Floridians unemployed right now, and we’ve got to figure a way to get the economy moving safely,” he said.

As expected, Gregory and Fairey have different ideas what should be done. Gregory leads a political committee fighting passage of a minimum wage increase on the ballot in November. Fairey said improved wages would help Florida tremendously and supports the constitutional amendment.

“All that money goes right back into the local economy,” Fairey said, "and especially with all this unemployment and a broken system, people desperately need that.”

The district, regardless of roadside response to sign waving, should be an easy hold for Republicans. Gregory won the seat in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. But he’s still knocking on doors and campaigning hard, he said, saying that’s the best way legislators have to hear constituent concerns. He feels voters are on his side. And they don’t like the message the left is selling right now.

“Floridians and Americans, I think, are rightfully concerned with what we see everyday on TV,” he said. “Peaceful protests that turn into violent criminal affairs, the disrespect shown to law enforcement. They are worried and concerned about the future of our country.”

Voters in House District 73, which covers part of east Manatee and Sarasota county, will decide between Gregory and Fairey on Nov. 3.

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