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.