Accusations of dishonesty fly in Manatee District 4 race

Todays News

Races for the Manatee County Commission continue to turn increasingly acerbic. As County Commissioner Misty Servia faces mortgage broker Mike Rahn in a Republican primary, the focus often has turned to insults about party loyalty and even family matters.

Servia earlier this year sent a cease and desist letter when Rahn accused the incumbent of calling Gov. Ron DeSantis a racist. More recently, Rahn employed the help of his ex-wife as he demanded ads stop that alleged he fought paying child support. 

“Misty Servia is a serial liar and absolute fraud,” Rahn wrote on Facebook. That came after a political committee released a mailer accusing him of trying “to dodge paying spousal support.”

Servia stood by ads, pointing to 1997 court filings from Rahn’s divorce where he argued he should not have to pay spousal support when h made $100,000 a year and his wife made $25,000.

Rahn’s ex-wife, Sharon Jobe, released a video this week saying her ex never tried to shirk parental duties. “It is a lie and a low blow,” she said. “Mike is a wonderful father.”

But not long prior, Servia had her own critique of the honesty of Rahn’s campaign messaging. The Rahn campaign leaned into a Fox News piece during 2021 when Servia criticized a pop-up clinic in Lakewood Ranch for being set up to benefit “the whitest demographic, the richest demographic” in Manatee County.

The comments have been used to suggest a divide between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican county commissioner. But Servia said she supports DeSantis, and her comments were always aimed squarely at County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who is still fighting ethics findings that she abused her position of power to bring the vaccine clinic to her neighborhood and put herself on a VIP list to receive shots.

“The state Ethics Commission investigated it and agreed with me that what she did was an abuse of her power,” Servia said. “Baugh has a real problem with the truth. And my opponent has nothing to run on, which is why he hasn’t told anyone what he wants to do on the Manatee County Commission.”

With write-in candidates qualified in the race, the Republican primary between Servia and Rahn will be open only to registered Republicans in District 4. The election will be held Aug. 23.

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