Sarasota County Republicans celebrated as three constitutional officers won reelection without opposition.
Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner, Clerk of Courts Karen Rushing and Property Appraiser Bill Furst won reelection at noon Friday when the qualifying deadline passed. Turner got to close the books on the races, including his own.
“Congratulations to Ron Turner, Karen Rushing and Bill Furst for running such efficient and respected operations that Democrats chose not even to challenge them,” said Jack Brill, Acting Chair of the Republican Party of Sarasota County.
Notably, Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates, a Democrat, also won re-election.
A bigger coup for the party may actually be that no Democratic, independent or third-party candidates filed for the open Sheriff’s race. There, Republicans Kurt Hoffman and Paul Fern will duke it out in a primary. Hoffman as Chief Deputy right now is considered the favorite. With only Republicans running, all voters in the county will weigh in during the August primary.
Furst won office in 2008 after unseating incumbent Jim Todora in a Republican primary.
Rushing has served in the Clerk’s Office for 33 years, first winning office in 1987. She has wielded statewide influence during that time including as president of the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers Association.
Turner won office in 2008 after serving as Deputy to former Supervisor Kathy Dent. He previously won the office of Supervisor of Elections in DeSoto County.
And Ford-Coates first won office in 1984, the longest-serving constitutional officer in the county
The Republican-leaning county will have plenty of political activity this fall, hosting one of the most heated House races in Florida in District 72, not to mention the congressional race between Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democratic challenger Margaret Good.
There will be contests in three County Commission races now that the county has returned to single-member districts for the first time in decades.