Update: Martin Hyde has since told Fox News he is still running.
Sarasota congressional candidate Martin Hyde appears to have ended his campaign against U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan. The move comes after Hyde received national media attention — and scorn — over a police body cam video of his actions at a traffic stop.
In a letter published by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Hyde apologized for his behavior. But he also made clear he will not be pursuing a seat in the U.S. House at this point.
“I am sorry because in a democracy without congressional term limits, I have taken away the opportunity for people to make changes in a stagnant system that rewards incumbency over innovation and true local representation,” he wrote.
“I was prepared to use my limited resources to mount a congressional campaign based on equity as opposed to elitism — which is the irony of the manner of my demise.”
Further confirming that Hyde would be dropping out of the race is a quote Hyde’s consultant, the notorious Roger Stone, gave to the Herald-Tribune.
“I got a message indirectly from him last night that he had decided to withdraw his candidacy,” said Stone.
Hyde was stopped on Feb. 14 for speeding by Sarasota Police Officer Julia Beskin, and news spread quickly based on her ticket mentioning his behavior.
Florida Politics and other outlets later obtained official body cam footage, and the story drew attention. Since then, Hyde has been flooded with emails, messages, and voicemails berating him.
A two-time Sarasota City Commission candidate, Hyde had previously picked up endorsements from the local Police Benevolent Association. But the image of him berating an officer incited heavy criticism from supporters of police.
Hyde would not comment to Florida Politics following the release of footage. His long-standing Facebook page “Martin Hyde Sarasota Citizen” was taken out of public view on Thursday. Asked at the time if that signaled news about his campaign, he emailed, “You’ll just have to wait and see.”
News broke Friday morning, not in a news article but in a letter published by the Herald-Tribune.
The signature line at the bottom of the piece read: “Martin Hyde is a Sarasota businessman and a former Republican Party candidate for Florida’s 16th Congressional District.”
Hyde later emailed stating: “I remain the only official spokesperson for Martin Hyde or my campaign. If I feel there is something worthy of making a statement about I will do so. For now nothing is official.”
Hyde had largely self-funded his campaign for Congress against Buchanan, an eight-term incumbent Republican. The candidate had loaned his campaign $164,000, and spent much of it on consulting with former Donald Trump associate Stone.
Trump ultimately endorsed Buchanan.
For the moment, Hyde’s federal campaign accounts remain open and his official campaign website remains live.
Of note, he has backtracked from reactions to controversy before.
During his last run for City Commission, Hyde suggested he would drop out of the race after a video went viral showing him berating Puerto Rican teens at the Bath & Racquet Club in Sarasota. He ultimately decided to continue his campaign, which he lost in 2019 to incumbent Commissioner Liz Alpert.