‘Keep Florida free’: Dennis Cooley files to run for remapped House District 70

Dennis Cooley
"Gov. DeSantis has made Florida the envy of the nation and I want to keep it that way."

Businessman Dennis Cooley has filed to run for Florida House District 70; whose redrawn borders could provide parts of Hillsborough and Manatee counties with a new state Representative.

The Ellenton insurance consultant filed to run on Jan. 12. His goal: “to keep Florida free.”

“Gov. (Ron) DeSantis has made Florida the envy of the nation, and I want to keep it that way,” Cooley said in a statement. “Our state’s leaders have led with courage and conservatism throughout this pandemic, and the results speak for themselves. Florida is a nationwide leader in economic growth, education innovation, infrastructure investments, and environmental restoration. We can continue this record of results by electing local, conservative leaders who will stay the course in the face of an out-of-control Federal Government that seeks to undermine Florida’s success daily.

“I will be that voice to stand in the breach between hardworking, freedom-loving Floridians and the dysfunction in Washington, D.C.”

Born in Bradenton, Cooley developed a payroll software interface in 2000 that, according to a press note from his campaign, has since processed billions of dollars in payroll transactions.

He now runs Bridgely Key Options, an insurance company that helps businesses and employees navigate insurance issues.

Cooley is also the publisher of the Manatee Herald — which he recently described as “still a startup up news and media site” — as well as a member of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and a graduate and alumni board member of the chamber’s leadership program, Leadership Manatee.

He serves on the Hundred Club of Manatee County, which supports law enforcement agencies.

His Twitter account describes him as a professional employer for 30 years. He’s also a pilot and a married father of four.

Cooley is currently listed on the Division of Elections website as the only Republican in a five-way HD 70 race that includes incumbent Democratic Rep. Michele Rayner.

However, redistricting maps the House released would place Rayner in House District 62.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • just comment

    January 16, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    well Florida has become less free the rules and regulations are limiting you including sitting in parks and higher rents and no where to move without having to pay

    • Chris S

      January 19, 2022 at 10:41 am

      Another unqualified, trust fund baby who’s only plan for “service” to his state is to continue cheating on his taxes and make his white bros richer. Disgusting.

    • Ellenton native

      January 26, 2022 at 11:23 pm

      Why the redistricting? Who’s running against him? Won’t half of his constituents be African-American? What’s his platform? Just catchphrases?

  • Alex

    January 16, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    I can’t wait to ask this idiot what freedoms he’s lost, and watch him stutter, bluster, turn red and slink off.

    • Travis

      January 18, 2022 at 3:14 pm

      This. Although he’s probably too arrogant and will make up something about taxes.

  • John Murphy

    January 16, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    If you think DeSantis made Florida free it’s reason enough you’re not qualified to hold public office. Free to let seniors die from COVID. Free to put children at risk. Taking freedom from home rule from communities that date to disagree with him. He has overtly fascist tendencies. He needs to be thrown out of office. We need fewer Nazis in office not more.

    • Alex

      January 16, 2022 at 8:38 pm


      It’s not Liberty, Life and the Pursuit of Happiness for a reason

  • anonymous

    January 18, 2022 at 9:24 am

    this is fake news. 3/4 kids don’t speak to him. he also threatened to kill his ex wife on facebook. some candidate…

    • Anonymous

      January 18, 2022 at 2:23 pm

      Sounds like the perfect candidate to me. Lies, cheats, steals…perfect republican!

    • Travis

      January 18, 2022 at 3:32 pm


      • Anonymous

        January 18, 2022 at 4:34 pm

        Look up his divorce transcripts, eye opening for sure!

  • Caroline Wilkinson (formerly Cooley)

    January 18, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    As 1 of his only 2 blood children whom he doesn’t claim unless it’s for his own public benefit, his integrity, morals & accountability should be heavily questioned. He refused to pay child support for 2 years and cheated on my mother with his current wife for years (admittedly in court), told me “welcome to adult hood” when I couldn’t afford seizure medicine, & told my mom “let me know how things turn out” when my little brother was deathly ill just a few blocks from his office in the hospital. But yeah, let’s have him in office.

    • Katelyn

      January 18, 2022 at 10:07 pm

      Damn, you gotta be quite the bastard for your own daughter drags you through the mud. Wouldn’t help pay for your seizure medication?

      I wonder what his healthcare plan is- just let the poor die?

  • Doesn’t matter

    January 18, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    As a service member and spouse of one of his children (which he wouldn’t know because he puts his reputation over his kids), this clown would destroy the community. This article says he’s a father of 4, does it mean he’s acted as a father to 4 children or just been the biological father of them? Before allowing this man to handle the money of a tax paying community, we should look into the money he’s invested into his political image compared to the money he’s invested into his children’s livelihoods
    “I will be that voice to stand in the breach between hardworking, freedom-loving Floridians and the dysfunction in Washington, D.C.”
    Hahahahaha get real, why don’t you fix your dysfunctional parenting first.

  • Liberty - Exposing a lowdown dirty dog with mange and fleas

    January 19, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    This man inherited millions of dollars from has family. Millions. He threw is wife and the mother of his kids and the kids out and forced them to move in with her parents with the shirts on their backs, gave her not a penny and told her to GET FOOD STAMPS to feed HIS KIDS! .. to get money from the government he now wants to run over actually providing for his family – he left after a years long affair including activities in car in a bar parking lot – that is how they got caught this new wife’s husband catching them. Seriously a car parenting lot at a bar. Thats who you want? He fleeces the system when it benefits him. While they were living hand to mouth he had to be ordered by the court to provide even nominal support as he was so busy flying his trick around to lavish places in his newly purchased private jet and bought his adulterous partner a Mercedes.
    Receipts? – Simply go to the court file.

  • Ben Deiter

    January 20, 2022 at 11:40 am

    Dennis will be a wonderful representative and I wish him luck in his political career. If you don’t like him feel free to run against him. My guess is that none of you haters have the guts to do so.

  • Travis

    January 20, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    Is running about guts, or money? Some of us actually have to go to work to feed our families.

    • Nope no guts here

      January 20, 2022 at 1:15 pm

      Exactly. Doesn’t take guts to use your trust fund. Nor does it take guys to cheat on your wife, abandon your kids, siphon monies into bogus accounts so you can hide it from your wife to avoid paying alimony, or child support? Is it gutsy to force you Ex wife to move into her parents home? Or force them on welfare? If THAT is guts, I sure am glad I don’t have any!

  • Charlie

    January 20, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    I’m surprised all the haters live here in Florida, and not New York or California?? Dennis is a great candidate and exactly what we need in Florida. Like Ben stated, feel free to run against him if you have the guts to do so. It’s the liberal mentality of the haters that drives someone like Dennis to run. Good luck haters.

    • No guts here either

      January 21, 2022 at 10:28 am

      I always love it when people point out a candidates lack of integrity and morality and they are labeled “haters and liberals” 😂 THIS is why our country is messed up, we put these fools in office and treat them like gods. How about we find someone slightly more qualified. Then again, as someone pointed out…maybe he IS the perfect candidate, definitely THE perfect republican! Liar, cheater, tax evader…

    • Caroline Wilkinson (formally Cooley)

      January 21, 2022 at 12:56 pm

      Hey, Charlie! Real quick, it’s not my “liberal” mentality, it’s my own personal experience with this man as my biological father, whom only claims my little brother (his biological son) and I when it’s for his public benefit. His wife’s daughter is actually coming to live with my husband and I, because they kicked her out of their home just 2 months after she turned 18. If you want a man in office whom only cares about himself/his wife (whom again, he cheated on my mom with for years admittedly in a court of law) and how to get a check, by all means he IS perfect. While we’re on the topic, I want to make it very clear to you that DNA & a birth certificate does not make you a “father”, it means you “fathered” those kids. Funny to me how he claims to be a father of 4, however his actions, social media, and day-to-day lifestyle does not reflect that. It’s like we do not exist. If he hadn’t thrown us into his campaign to make himself look more reputable and qualified, I would not have even inserted myself. If a “hater” is someone holding him accountable for his actions (which he hasn’t even done himself) then by all means, I’m the biggest fkin hater of them all.

    • Holding him accountable

      January 21, 2022 at 1:17 pm

      Hey Charlie, maybe, just maybe his biological child knows more than you what a douche bag her father is? I applaud her for wanting to hold him accountable, as not many folks in politics are held to any standards these days. Good for her! Maybe your view is clouded by your misogyny, as it does seem to be a bit myopic. However, that is fairly typical of republicans…do as I say, not as I do…my guess is anyone defending him behaves in the same manner.

  • Stomach flu

    January 25, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Somehow the Country seems to have lost its moral compass. The crooked politicians are legion. Cooley fits the mold. His trick hit on several men in his office, then landed on Cooley (literally). And the fun was on. Wife and children be damned. Morals of an alley cat. He rode the coattails of his father and brother, now let’s put him in public office so he can feed at our public trough. I think I’ll throw up, Cooley!

  • Stomach flu

    January 25, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Somehow the Country seems to have lost its moral compass. The crooked politicians are legion. Cooley fits the mold. His trick hit on several men in his office, then landed on Cooley (literally). And the fun was on. Wife and children be damned. Morals of an alley cat. He rode the coattails of his father and brother, now let’s put him in public office so he can feed at our public trough. I think I’ll throw up, Cooley!

Comments are closed.


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