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Randy Cooper exits HD 71 race, will support Tracy Pratt

Saying “sweat equity” was simply not enough, Randy Cooper is exiting the race for Manatee County’s House District 71.

“I started running for this seat a year ago and have put my heart, soul, and a lot of sweat equity in this campaign but have to admit that it just was not enough,” Cooper, a Bradenton civil engineer and West Manatee Fire and Rescue District commissioner, said in a statement Friday morning.

Instead, Cooper is throwing his support behind Tracy Pratt, a Bradenton attorney who entered the HD 71 race Thursday.

“Tracy Pratt is smart, young, and a wife and mother, who will put the interests of the citizens and business in the area first, not special interest groups,” he said.

When he entered the race in April 2017, Cooper was the third candidate to run for the seat held by term-limited Republican Jim Boyd, who was first elected in 2010 and since re-elected in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Cooper promised to “remain active and involved in the community” after filing papers with the state Division of Elections in “the next couple of weeks.”

“All individuals who made contributions will be offered a prorated refund or other disposition of funds in accordance with state campaign finance laws,” he said.

With Cooper stepping aside, Pratt will be the lone Democrat to challenge Republican Will Robinson, a Bradenton attorney who has already raised close to $175,000 for the race.

HD 71 covers western Manatee County and a small part of northern Sarasota County.

Written By

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist, editor and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range included covering news, local government and entertainment reviews for Patch.com, technical articles, and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine as well as advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached at phil.ammann@gmail.com.

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