Gov. Ron DeSantis has endorsed two Republicans running for Sarasota County School Board.
Unsurprisingly, he threw his support to incumbent School Board Member Bridget Ziegler. After first being appointed by then-Gov. Rick Scott, Ziegler has won two full terms on the Board and now is seeking a third. She faces Dawnyelle Singleton in a nonpartisan election on Aug. 23.
DeSantis also endorsed Tim Enos, a former Police Chief for the Sarasota County School Board.
“We need strong local school board members who are committed to advancing our agenda to put students first and protect parents’ rights,” DeSantis said. “In Florida, we value student success, parental rights and curriculum transparency, and we need school board members who do the same. We need strong school boards who will fight for these values and put students first.”
The support came as part of a round of endorsements for School Board races around the state announced Monday by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez.
Ziegler has raised upward of $106,000 for the countywide run, with Singleton raising nearly $98,000. The race is expected to be one of the hottest in the region. DeSantis praised her from the stage last year when he accepted the Republican Party of Sarasota County’s (RPOSC) Statesman of the Year award.
She’s also developed a statewide reputation as an advocate of school choice, and she stood by the Governor during signing ceremonies for a number of statutes, including a controversial “Parental Rights in Education” measure decried by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Enos is running for an open District 5 seat against Nora Cietek.
Notably, DeSantis did not endorse in an open District 4 race yet. But that may be coming.
Ziegler, Enos and District 4 candidate Robyn Marinelli have run as a conservative ticket with the local party’s support, while Democrats have backed Singleton, Cietek and District 4 candidate Lauren Kurnov.
The local GOP welcomed the Governor’s voice in the race.
“It’s a great day when our popular Gov. Ron DeSantis endorses two of our School Board candidates,” RPOSC Acting Chairman Jack Brill said. “We know the Governor is intent on getting the right School Board candidates on Florida School Boards — people who will stand up to the radical, woke indoctrination of our children and put parents and children ahead of political agendas.”