Carol Whitmore in hot water after sign scuttle in Manatee Co. Commission contest
Carol Whitmore gets blasted for not playing fair.

Carol Whitmore ART
Carol Whitmore reportedly pulled signs off private property promoting opponent James Bearden.

Holmes Beach Police filed a report on Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore after she pulled opponent Jason Bearden’s campaign signs.

That’s according to a front-page report in The Anna Maria Islander. The newspaper reports Whitmore on June 11 showed up at the police station with three signs she pulled from properties, including three promoting Bearden, a Republican opponent. Some came from a private property and another had been posted on city land.

Police told the Islander taking the signs could warrant a theft charge. They also said Whitmore had wrongly cited a city ordinance limiting how long before an election sign could be placed which has since been deemed unconstitutional.

Based on similar cases elsewhere in the state, that’s a crime that could warrant a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.

But Whitmore, in a statement to Florida Politics, said the signs issue is not something that warrants as much attention as her opponent’s extreme positions.

“Bearden should be more concerned about his accusations of election fraud and his public statements wanting to turn Manatee County’s reserves into bitcoin,” she said.

That’s just the most recent bit of friction in what is fast becoming a top-tier political fight in Manatee County.

Bearden last week qualified to challenge Whitmore in a Primary for her at large seat on the Manatee County Commission.

That’s set to be a heated August Primary.

Whitmore has raised almost $114,000 for the seat while Bearden has raised upward of $71,000. Carol Ann Felts also qualified for the seat but raised just $100. Notably, a write-in candidate, Manuel Antonio Llamas, also qualified, which means the Aug. 23 Republican Primary will be closed to only Republican voters.

Another candidate running as a write-in was Robert Lesher, who told the Herald-Tribune earlier this month that Bearden had asked him to file for the seat.

Later, Bearden posted photos of himself on social media going door-to-door with Llamas gathering petitions.

Additionally, Bearden has faced accusations of advancing theories associated with QAnon on social media.

Whitmore has served on the Manatee County Commission since 2006, and was recently endorsed by Rep. Vern Buchanan, who also will seek re-election this year.

But she’s increasingly found herself in the minority on votes, with a conservative majority elected in the last two election cycles dominating board decisions.

The race is one of three Manatee County Commission contests on the ballot this year. Democratic Commissioner Reggie Bellamy faces a Primary challenge from former Commissioner Charles Smith and a General Election battle with Republican Amanda Ballard in District 2. Republican Commissioner Misty Servia faces a challenge from Mike Rahn in a GOP Primary also closed by write-in candidates.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


5 comments

  • Janelle

    June 22, 2022 at 10:12 am

    Carol Whitmore is very afraid of losing her position as she should be. She continues to think that she is above the law!

    Reply

    • Linda Swarz

      June 22, 2022 at 12:11 pm

      That’s laughable! What about Kruse and Baugh. The 4 need to go.

      Reply

  • Glen Gibellina

    June 22, 2022 at 4:49 pm

    I think I’ll put a picture of Jason sign on all my weeds….please come pull all you want ….. LOL

    Reply

  • Kathy Rogers

    June 22, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    She has been questioning concerns for a long time. She works for her benefit first. Around for much too long. Vote her out!

    Reply

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