Carol Whitmore has served for years on the Manatee County Commission and before that as Mayor of Holmes Beach. But well before that, she was a homeless teenager in the community.
In a last-minute appeal to voters across local airwaves, Whitmore shares her personal story in a direct-to-the-camera communication to voters.
“At the age of 15, I was homeless here in Manatee County, but in this town we don’t feel sorry for ourselves,” she said. “We fight.”
Whitmore’s official biography states she moved to Manatee County in 1969 and would become a nurse in 1977.
The ad comes on the heels of a deeply negative campaign season in Manatee County, one in which political opponent Jason Bearden called for charges accusing Whitmore of stealing signs and, in turn, Whitmore has attacked him for business failures and questionable economic proposals.
“I know there’s a bunch of nonsense out there, so I wanted to give it to you straight,” she said.
In the background, excerpts from local newspapers, including an endorsement piece in the Observer that read “God bless her passion for Manatee County,” appear. So does an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, who calls her a “relentless guardian of our tax dollars.”
Whitmore then directly counters some of the attacks on her record.
“I will fund our Sheriff,” she said, “and I will fight (Joe) Biden’s disastrous inflation. And I will protect your tax dollars with everything I’ve got.
“I am Carol Whitmore and I’m proud to call Manatee County my home.”
The 30-second ad will reach Fox News and Fox Business viewers over the last days of the campaign.
Whitmore faces Bearden in a closed Republican Primary on Aug. 23. She’s running for re-election to her at-large seat, so voters across Manatee County will vote in the election.
In the past two years, Whitmore, a former Chair of the Manatee County Commission, has served in a political minority along with two other commissioners up for re-election this year.