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SRQ DAILY Nov 12, 2022

Saturday Perspectives Edition

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Saturday Perspectives Edition

"When that is mixed with such strong candidates from Governor DeSantis to all of our local Republicans, we have a formula that has paid off."

- Jack Brill, acting Republican Party of Sarasota chair

[Dialogue]  About the SRQ DAILY | Perspectives Edition

SRQ Daily: The Perspectives Edition features analysis, commentary and insight on current events in Sarasota and Manatee counties from regular columnists, local leaders and guest contributors. Readers are invited to submit letters that respectfully share their perspective on a local community topic or issue to: letters@srqme.com. Submissions received before Thursday of each week will be considered for the immediate Saturday edition. Editors reserve the right to fact-check and edit. SRQ MEDIA does not house an editorial board and as such does not publish editorials or endorsements of candidates. The opinions and analysis of columns and letters shared in this edition are those of the writer who submitted them. The Perspectives Edition serves as a respectful and thoughtful space for readers to share their voices on topics that are important to them. 

[Under The Hood]  Republican Rout Meets Democratic Dereliction
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

As national Republicans embark on introspections, Florida Republicans reveling in a red wave all the more astonishing for the fact it existed in Florida alone. Days after the Nov. 8 midterms, a picture continues to come into focus on Republican overperformance — and critically Democratic underperformance a — that brought consequences even at a local level.

The biggest story in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, clearly, is the fact both Manatee and Sarasota will have all-GOP county commissions. It’s not Republican Amanda Ballard unseating Democratic incumbent Reggie Bellamy in Bradenton or Mark Smith defeating Fredd Atkins was entirely a surprise. But there are real questions that need to be asked about how Democratic-majority seats could see such poor turnout.

Certainly, many will point to the redistricting of Manatee County as part of the problem. The district has long encompassed two major towns to be an urban seat. Critics of a Manatee County Commission map instated ahead of this election saw this as meddling, and while those involved with the new map not District 2 remains a majority minority seat where the share of Black voters went down by just 1.4%, Bellamy’s defeat will be viewed as a vindication of concerns. When a new commission is worn in, it will be the first time in 20 years there’s not a Democrat on the board.

But in Sarasota, redistricting ahead of the election created an opportunity for Democrats. To the disgruntlement of retiring County Commissioner Christian Ziegler and drawing criticism from Republican Party of Florida Chair Joe Gruters, the Sarasota County Commission as a whole approved a new map that had a Democrat-leaning seat that actually went up for a vote this year. Indeed, the creation of the seat representing a culmination of some 40 years of effort by Atkins, Sarasota’s first Black Mayor and one of the region’s most vocal supporters of single-member district voting.

Honestly, and it will take some time to fully digest the figures, it seems likely Republicans would have swept the county commission under any circumstances with boundaries for maps this year. This election, if anything, may show the follow of a belief parties ever need to pick their battles.

In both counties, Republicans outnumber Democrats, but the turnout figures show the performance gap was much worse. In Manatee, 89,687 Republicans voted, or 72.31% of those who were eligible. Only 46,820 Democrats, 58.83% of voters, came out on Tuesday. While Democrats provided a higher turnout in mail-in voting, Republicans had more than double the turnout for all in-person voting. More independents voted on Election Day than Democrats.

In Sarasota, the gap was almost as bad. Some 107,975 Republicans, 70.14% of those eligible, cast ballots countywide. About 64,739 Democrats, 63.78%, did the same. More independents voted in-person both on Election Day and in early voting. This helped guarantee not only Smith’s win over Atkins but also Rep. Fiona McFarland’s nearly 13-percentage-point win over Democrat Derek Reich in a nearly evenly split House district.

Republicans deserve a lot of credit for pushing the vote out at levels rivaling presidential years. Many give credit to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who won by a massive 19 points. At least as much praise should go to Gruters for focusing intensely on voter registration the past four years.

But the differences and gaps we see in the level of voter engagement with Democrats shows a dereliction of duty with Democrats at all levels, from national Democrats who sent almost no resources to Florida, a feckless state party that exercised less influence than in Oklahoma, and a failure to even challenge the elsewhere wrong prediction of a Republican tsunami.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA. 

[On Politics]  GOP Fight is Never Over
Jack Brill

Tuesday’s massive victories for Republicans in Sarasota County and Florida show that Florida has become a rock-solid red state, and that Sarasota County is a foundation of that success.

During his visit to Sarasota Sunday, Governor Ron DeSantis said thanked local party leaders for working hard to really make this county one of the Republican engines of the State of Florida.

Today was the result of years-long voter registration efforts here on the ground that has given us a nearly 50,000-registered-voter lead over Democrats, and a well-oiled machine working hard to inform, equip and turn out voters. When that is mixed with such strong candidates from Governor DeSantis to all of our local Republicans, we have a formula that has paid off.

However, one thing we have learned as we have created a passionate and efficient party in Sarasota County, making the county ever more red, is that the fight is never over. We will celebrate this huge victory and then we will immediately begin strategizing how to do even better in 2024.

Jack Brill is acting chair of the Republican Party of Sarasota. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Co-Production with Sarasota Jewish Theatre and the SaraSolo Festival: A One-Woman Musical About Golda Meir , November 9 – November 13, (Preview) Nov. 9 at 7:30 PM; Nov. 10-12 at 7:30 PM; Nov. 13 at 2 PM

The Players Centre is proud to team up with Sarasota Jewish Theatre and the SaraSolo Festival to present Rhapsody for Golda, Nov. 9 – 13, 2022 at Studio 1130 at The Crossings at Siesta Key mall (3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34239.) Blake Walton directs this new musical with book, lyrics and music by Sharon Ohrenstein and music by David Ohrenstein, and choreography by Vanessa Russo. Sharon also stars as Golda Meir. Synopsis: This original one-woman musical tells the story of the rise of one of the greatest stateswomen of the 20th Century, Golda Meir. Meir was an Israeli politician, and teacher, who served as the fourth prime minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974. She was the first woman to become head of government in Israel. Where: Studio 1130 – The Crossings at Siesta Key, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34239 - Please park and enter the mall at Connor’s Steak and Seafood - Tickets: Preview night- $20; All other dates- $25.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: The Siesta Key Crystal Classic , November 11 – November 14

The free Siesta Key Breeze Trolley runs daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm to and from Siesta Key Village and Turtle Beach. A mobile app is available to track the trolley in real time. New transportation on and off Siesta Key is now available via Sarasota County’s OnDemand Service. Customers can request a ride via a mobile app, which is available in app stores for iPhone and Android devices, online at scgov.net/OnDemand, or by calling 941-300-1553. OnDemand uses accessible minivans and operates similarly to today’s popular ridesharing services like Uber and Lift. The OnDemand vehicle will pick up customers and take them to their destinations within the same zone.

Siesta Key Beach

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Presents Sybarite5 performing “Apartments” , November 15, 7:30 PM

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota is pleased to present Sybarite5 opening the Tuesdays at the Historic Asolo Theater Series at 7:30 p.m. on November 15. They will perform their Groove Machine program with new dance-inspired works along with the world premiere of “Apartments” by Jackson Greenberg, which was commissioned for them. The piece explores the intersection between everyday sounds (rain, electrical wires, coffee machines), human communication (via string instruments), and current events (via AM news radio). The concert is sponsored by Charlotte and Charles Perret. For more information and tickets, visit ArtistSeriesConcerts.org or call (941) 306-1202. Tickets ($30-$50).

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Farmers' Market at Lakewood Ranch , January 2 – December 25, 10am-2pm

The Farmers’ Market at Lakewood Ranch is home to more than 90 curated vendors of the region’s best food and flavors, located at Waterside Place in Lakewood Ranch. It takes place every Sunday from 10am to 2pm at Waterside Place. It’s your weekend destination for organic produce, meat, poultry, seafood, bread, pasta, juices and prepared foods. Stay up to date on vendors and events by visiting TheMarketLWR.com.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Sarasota Medieval Fair , November 5 – November 27, 10am-5:30pm

SARASOTA MEDIEVAL FAIR Every Saturday and Sunday running November 5th-27th, 2022 at Woods of Mallaranny (29847 FL-70 E.Myakka City, FL 34251). Welcome one and all to four weekends of exciting tournaments, scrumptious feasts, & pure family fun at the 18th Annual Sarasota Medieval Fair! Live the majesty and madness of knights, jesters, minstrels, acrobatics, wenches, and sword swingers! Watch jousts and human combat chess tournaments! Listen to musical displays of powerful bagpipes and the heart pounding drums. Feast on turkey legs and hearty ales. A full day of entertainment. You will not miss your favorite show as you stroll through the village as the shows repeat several times a day to adjust to your schedule. Get into the fun by wearing your favorite medieval or renaissance garb to feel part of the clan! For tickets visit www.sarasotamedievalfair.com Phone 1-888-303-FAIR (3247)

Woods of Mallaranny, 29847 FL-70 E. Myakka City, FL 34251

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Manatee Performing Art Center: Pets! , November 2 – November 20, Varied

Pets! November 2 – 20, 2022. This critically-acclaimed musical revue consists of 22 musical scenes dealing with the very special relationship between people and their pets. It’s clever, user-friendly and suits audiences of all ages. Cats, dogs, mice, turtles, iguanas, parakeets and other species are having the times of their lives. The scenes range from a dog hungrily eyeing his owner’s bagel in “There’s a Bagel on the Piano'' to the hilarious, harried Rumanian dog walker in “I Walk Ze Dogs.” For more information visit www.manateeperformingartscenter.com, Ticket Office 941-748-5875

Manatee Performing Arts Center , 502 Third Avenue West Bradenton, FL 34205

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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