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SRQ DAILY Jun 11, 2022

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"anyone who has followed School Board races in the region knows Democrats perform better in August and Republicans do better in November, especially with nonpartisan races."

- Jacob Ogles, Under the Hood columnist and Contributing Senior Editor

[Under The Hood]  Expect the Unexpected in Qualifying Week
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The coming week is one of the most exciting periods of the political season. No, it’s not Election Day. That’s when the suspense ends. This is qualification week.

From noon on Monday until noon on Friday, we’re in that phase when anything can happen. Surprise contenders. Sudden retirements. Closed primaries. No one knows for sure what will happen, but almost surely, something will happen that most of us for the moment don’t suspect. But here’s a few things I will be looking for, not because I have particular insight but precisely because I don’t.

State House District 73

The Sarasota-centered House district has a new shape and a new number, but remains as swingy as ever. Republican Rep. Fiona McFarland holds the seat today. But so everyone knows, nobody has served this seat or one analogous to it for a full eight years since term limits first came into existence. McFarland won the seat in 2020 after Democrat Margaret Good gave it up to run for Congress. Good won the seat in a nationally watched special election viewed as a mid-midterm referendum on Donald Trump in early 2018, and held onto it the following November. Before her, Republican Alex Miller won the seat in a seeming landslide but only when a sex scandal knocked the Democrat out of serious contention.

And toss aside what you think you know about gerrymandering. This seat is more divided than ever. Republican Donald Trump won here but by less than half a percentage point over Democrat Joe Biden in 2020.

But to date, only one Democrat is running, first-time candidate Derek Reich. Sure he could put up a fight, but McFarland has almost $200,000 cash to operate with now. The question this week is if a Democrat with an existing fundraising network and more name recognition gets in the race.

Sarasota County District 2

To date, there are five candidates filed for this Sarasota County contest and not one of them is named Christian Ziegler. There’s candidates including Mark Smith on the Republican side hoping that means the incumbent will sit this race out. Is Ziegler, also vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida, ready to bow out of public office after one term?

There’s arguments to made either way as to what’s the wiser move. He won election county-wide, where whoever secured the Republican nomination was bound to win the office. But the race will be decided this year in a district election — despite Ziegler’s best efforts to convince voters to abandon single-member elections earlier this year. The district has more Democrats in it than Republicans, but not that many more. There’s good Democrats in the race, but all have significant flaws. At least right now, this election cycle feels like one where Republicans will get a boost up and down the ballot, so an incumbent with name recognition might be able to ride a red wave over any numeric disadvantage. 

We’ll learn this week if the hyper-partisan Ziegler will roll the dice  and run again or take a more conservative (with a lower case c) route.

School Board runoffs

This is some mechanical minutia, anyone who has followed School Board races in the region knows Democrats perform better in August and Republicans do better in November, especially with nonpartisan races. I know, I know, parties in School Board races? Well clutch your jewels, they will be more involved than ever this year. 

What I notice looking at the Sarasota candidate roster is every race has just two candidates. That means races will be decided effectively in August. But if a third candidate appears on the ballot, as is the case in most Manatee County School Board races, there’s a much higher probability nobody secures a 50% majority in the primary and the top two vote-getters will advance to November. Some of the most important school races in the last decade (Bridget Ziegler, Scott Hopes) were won by candidates who came in second in the primary but prevailed in November.

But these are just the questions I start the week with. The fun will come with scenarios not publicly imagines but likely being concocted in kitchen table consultations as we speak.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor of SRQ MEDIA.


[On Politics]  Florida Chamber Unveils 2022 Legislative Report Card
Florida Chamber of Commerce

The Florida Chamber of Commerce unveiled its 2022 Florida Chamber Legislative Report Card, showcasing grades earned by all 160 legislators in the Florida House and Senate based on their votes during the 2022 Legislative Session and Special Session D.

“Working together as a unified business community is how we will keep Florida’s economy growing and competitive,” said Florida Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mark Wilson. “As Florida continues to pace the nation’s economic recovery out of the pandemic, Florida’s business climate must remain a priority if we are going to continue on the path to grow private sector jobs, diversify our economy, and create additional economic opportunities for all Floridians.”

The Florida Chamber’s 2022 Legislative Report Card is an annual opportunity to recognize members of the Florida Legislature who placed making Florida more competitive through non-partisan private-sector job creation above special interests and attempts to protect the status quo.  The Report Card also lets Florida families, small businesses, taxpayers and voters know who voted in favor of private sector job creation and a stronger, more diversified economy.

After tabulating more than 3,100 votes cast during the 2022 Legislative Session and Special Session D, the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card shows:

  • Average GPA for both legislative chambers was 68 percent
  • Average Senate GPA was 78 percent
  • Average House GPA was 65 percent
  • Legislators earned 32 A’s, 48 B’s, 21 C’s, 9 D’s and 50 F’s

Lawmakers who earned high grades this legislative session focused on important competitiveness issues

  • Healthcare COVID-19 Liability Protections: Extending the commonsense COVID-19 liability protections expiring for health care facilities to continue to protect our healthcare heroes from frivolous litigation through June 2023.
  • Significant Long-Term Infrastructure Funding:  Investment in the infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of current and future Floridians with another $10B+ for the FDOT’s five-year workplan, approximately $362M for attainable workforce housing, and record funding for water quality, resiliency, and environmental restoration efforts.
  • Improving Education Outcomes via Student Assessments Overhaul: Replacing the end of the year high-stakes Florida Statewide Assessment with a computer-based state standards-aligned progress monitoring testing system to better support student growth and improve accountability to teachers and parents throughout the school year.
  • Local Business Protection Act: Protecting local businesses from burdensome and overreaching local government regulations by allowing local businesses to recoup damages if a local regulation results in a significant loss of business profitability.
  • Property Insurance Reform: Taking steps to stabilize Florida’s property insurance crisis and a market that has been described as “on life support” through overdue lawsuit abuse reform that discourages litigation by bad actors and billboard trial lawyers.
  • Florida Tourism Marketing: Reauthorizing VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing arm, through October 1, 2028, to provide certainty and allow VISIT FLORIDA to long-term plan and hire and retain top talent.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce released its Legislative Report Card on Friday. 

Graphic: Information courtesy Florida Chamber

[SOON]  FOOD: Savor Sarasota 2022 Annual Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week , June 1 – June 14

Summer never tasted so good! Are you ready for the annual #SavorSarasota Restaurant Week from June 1-14 when dozens of restaurants featured prix-fixe, multi-course lunch and dinner menus for just $20 and $35 per person! Home to award-winning and legendary restaurants, there’s no better time to explore all the culinary experiences Sarasota County has to offer. From Peruvian palates and French cuisine to American classics and fresh seafood, you’ll feel like a local foodie in no time. Participating Restaurants include Duval's Fresh Local Seafood, Amore Restaurant, The Bistro @ Concession Golf Club, 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop, Tripletail Seafood & Spirits, Bavaro's Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria, Cafe Evergreen, Michael's On East Restaurant, Libby's Lakewood Ranch, Libby's Neighborhood Brasserie, Opus Restaurant & Lounge, Ristorante San Marco, The Reserve Retreat, Andrea's Kitchen, Cafe Venice Restaurant & Bar, Dolce Italia, The Ringling Grillroom, C'est la Vie!, Rodizio Grill, Bijou Garden Cafe, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Selva Grill, Chaz 51 Steakhouse, Miguel's, Lucarelli's Restaurant, Pop's Sunset Grill, Fins at Sharky's, Bevardi’s Salute! Restaurant, Farlow's On The Water, Cafe Barbosso, Overture Restaurant & Gallery Lounge in Art Ovation, Flavio's on Main, Chef Rolf's New Florida Kitchen, Bohemios Wine and Beer Tapas Bar, Mattison’s Forty-One Restaurant and Catering Company, Green Zebra Cafe, and 1592 Wood Fired Kitchen & Cocktails.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Florida Studio Theatre: Laughing Matters , February 9 – June 19, Varies.

Laughing Matters, FST’s hit musical sketch comedy show, is back for round six! And this time, nothing and no one is safe from a good-spirited roast. From never-ending Sarasota construction and the perpetual hunt for downtown parking to Mother Nature’s increasingly wild mood swings and our endless quest to stay young, Laughing Matters delivers fast-paced comedy inspired by the culture and politics of today. Laughing Matters, by head writer Rebecca Hopkins with contributing writers Kevin Allen, Sarah Durham, Stephan deGhelder, and Jim Prosser, will play beginning February 9, 2022 through June 19, 2022 in FST's Court Cabaret.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Florida Center for Early Childhood: Mind Matters Symposium , June 22, 9am-3pm

Join The Florida Center for Early Childhood for a full-day, virtual course on understanding and supporting early childhood brain development and mental health on Wednesday, June 22 from 9am to 3pm. Learn to identify brain differences, their implications, and strategies to address them.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Ringling College Galleries + Exhibitions Opening Receptions June 10th , June 3 – June 24, 5pm-7pm

Ringling College Galleries + Exhibitions invites you to attend two opening receptions for: Petticoat Painters, exhibiting June 3 - June 24 in the Willis A. Smith Construction Inc. Gallery and Women Contemporary Artists, exhibiting June 3 - June 24 in the Lois + David Stulberg Gallery. Join us on June 10th, 5-7 pm for the opening reception in each gallery and meet the artists. Both galleries are on the Ringling College campus and are open M-F 9-3 pm. While you're on campus don't forget to stop by Valetta's exhibition in the Thompson Gallery. Valetta will be exhibiting June 3 - August 12.

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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