Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler will not seek re-election.
The decision came after a redistricting process in the county that left Ziegler representing a Democrat-leaning seat. Ziegler, also Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Florida, said he will turn his attention to other races than his own.
“It’s been an honor to serve Sarasota County,” Ziegler said. “I’ve been able to accomplish a lot specifically with water quality, but also with improving infrastructure and with getting through COVID with business loans we put out through a bridge loan program. I love being a County Commissioner, but at this stage of my life, I have served four years.”
Ziegler was initially elected to office in 2018 in a countywide election. But a charter amendment was later passed that changed the selection process for County Commissioners to single-member voting. While Ziegler campaigned to reverse that change in a Special Election earlier this year, voters favored keeping the new system.
District 2, which Ziegler represents, has about 1,700 more registered Democrats than Republicans. In what feels like good political conditions for Republicans, he’s confident he could have won. But he acknowledges a re-election campaign would have required a great deal of his attention.
“Look, it would have been a fight,” he said.
Ziegler is also the founder of Microtargeted Media, a political consulting firm doing work all over the country.
Additionally, his wife, Bridget Ziegler, serves on the Sarasota County School Board and is seeking re-election this year. He said he will focus through the Aug. 23 Primary on helping her win re-election over challenger Dawnyelle Singleton. Then he will spend the rest of the year helping Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election campaign and working with Republicans nationwide on other Midterm races.
“I wear a lot of hats and have to make decisions on priorities,” he said.
Notably, Ziegler’s decision may mean Democrats have a better chance of flipping his seat blue.
Former Sarasota Mayors Fredd Atkins and Hagen Brody both qualified to run for the seat as Democrats. Atkins was a major advocate for the change to single-member districts, was Sarasota’s first Black Mayor, and has raised nearly $15,000. Brody, a sitting Sarasota City Commissioner, has raised almost $60,000. Additionally, beach activist Mike Consentino has almost $44,000 raised and qualified as a Democrat as well.
On the Republican side, conservation activist Lourdes Ramirez has pulled in almost $10,000 and contractor Mark Smith has also qualified but posted no fundraising yet.
Last updated on June 18, 2022