August 18 will decide the winners of these races
Updated: Jul 29
Important races for Sarasota Sheriff and two School Board seats will e decided in the "universal primary" on August 18.
With such a narrow window of time, and with the absence of public gatherings where candidates and voters could meet in person, it is strange that our journalistic media -- the Herald Tribune, WWSB Channel 7, the Observer and more -- have not been more proactive in organizing debates and discussions with candidates so that voters could make their acquaintance.
Additionally, more than 90 Political Action Committees or PACs are moving large sums of money into campaigns in hopes of gaining name recognition for the developers' anointed candidates.
These PACs have been extensively researched by Cathy Antunes in a free booklet entitled Citizens United Meets Main Street -- an eye-opening look into the torrents of big money -- hundreds of thousands of dollars -- flowing in from other parts of Florida, or from out of state, little of it traceable.
Some of it can be traced, as Cathy shows, to developers, charter school magnates and other interest groups. But often one can't find out whose money it is, and what they want in exchange for it.
Below are forums that are either coming up, or that took place recently, which can be accessed online. We'll add more as we learn of them.
Monday, Aug. 3, 5:30 pm: The Latin Chamber of Commerce will talk with two candidates for Sheriff. Paul Fern and Kurt Hoffman. Both Republicans running for the position being vacated by Sheriff Tom Knight. The race will be decided on Aug. 18 in the "Universal Primary."
The League of Women Voters has several forums scheduled in July and August.
Tiger Bay has scheduled several candidate events in August.
Recent Candidate Forums
A July 29 County Commission Forum for Districts 1 and 5 was held with three of the four candidates: Chris Hanks and Ron Cutsinger from District 5 answered questions, as did Mike Hutchinson (left) of District 1. Mike Moran of District 1 was a no-show.
Here's a School Board Forum recorded July 22 with all four candidates running for SB Districts 2 and 3. Both races will be decided on August 18 in a "Universal Primary" open to all voters. The candidates are: Top l-r: Eric Robinson, Tom Edwards
Bottom l-r: Karen Rose, David Graham. This was organized by Protect Our Public Schools (POPS) Manasota and Suncoast NEA-Retired forum.
Link to League of Women Voters' videos of forums once held.
Primary: District 5 County Commission:
A virtual forum held on July 9 by the North Port Chamber with all three candidates for County Commission district 5 -- Alice White, Chris Hanks and Ron Cutsinger -- can be found here.
A forum from April 9 with the same three candidates as above for County Commission district 5 can be found here. White, Cutsinger and Hanks were interviewed by Christine Robinson of the Argus Foundation
District 5 County Commission Media coverage: Ron Cutsinger vs. Chris Hanks
Primary: District 1 County Commission Media coverage:
The mainstream news media thus far have not covered, held a debate, or produced in-depth journalism on this important race. More here: Voting in the Dark.
Mike Moran (incumbent) vs. Mike Hutchinson
Hutchinson has $7,200 in support.
Moran has $50,000 - much of it from developers like Carlos Beruff, James Gabbert, Benderson and more -- who have major development projects in District 1: