Anthony Sabatini seeks county GOP post in apparent play for Florida GOP Chair
Little by little, Anthony Sabatini is fading away from the Capitol. Image via Colin Hackley.

The former lawmaker would need to win the county post to be eligible to run.

A county Republican Executive Committee could determine if failed congressional candidate Anthony Sabatini runs for Republican Party of Florida Chair.

Sabatini is challenging Walter Price, longtime Chair of the Lake County Republican Party, in a local election on Sunday, Dec. 13. If elected, he will be eligible to run for state Chair.

Two prominent candidates, Leon County GOP Chair Evan Power and Sarasota County State Committeeman Christian Ziegler, have already announced bids for GOP state Chair.

Price feels confident he will win another term as Lake County Chair, a post he first won in 2016, but said he’s taking nothing for granted. REC members will vote by secret ballot.

“Our mission has not changed,” Price said. “It’s to get Republican voters registered, recruit good Republican candidates, get out the vote and get those candidates elected.”

And the party has been good at it for years. Lake County right now has the 14th largest margin in terms of registered Republicans over Democrats, with 120,933 registered Republicans compared to 76,646 Democrats as of book closing for the 2022 General Election.

Republicans also hold all countywide offices in Lake County. Gov. Ron DeSantis won the county by about 54,000 votes in his re-election bid this year, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio won re-election in the county by almost 48,000 votes.

Sabatini did not reply to requests for comment. The Howey-in-the-Hills Republican served most of the past four years in the Florida House in a district contained entirely within Lake County. In 2020, he won re-election with almost 56% of the vote over Democrat Stephanie Dukes.

But instead of seeking a third term, Sabatini ran for an open seat in Congress. He lost a Republican Primary in August by 14 percentage points to Cory Mills, who went on to win in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

Since then, Sabatini launched a new federal PAC, Florida Freedom Action. He most recently came under fire for raising money on a promise to stop California Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to Speaker, though he had no ability to impact that vote.

Price said Sabatini has promised to shift the mission of the Lake County GOP and to make it more of a think tank for the “America First” wing of the party.

Sabatini notably has been part of an effort by other far-right voices in the party to take over local Republican Executive Committees. He has worked closely with Collier County State Committeeman Alfie Oakes, who just endorsed a successful slate of REC candidates in his home county. Both Oakes and Sabatini are backing a similar slate in Lee County, the largest Florida county former President Donald Trump won in the 2020 election.

Sabatini previously has worked with Price on issues, the incumbent county Chair said. That includes a resolution demanding an audit of the 2020 Presidential Election.

Oakes has publicly asserted that votes were flipped against Trump in Florida, even though Trump won the state’s electoral votes. Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays, a Republican and former state Senator, said the party position included “blatantly false statements.”

“It is time for those who are making the accusations, to either PUT UP OR SHUT UP!” Hays wrote in an open letter published on his website, according to the Daily Commercial.

Price said the resolution was passed before DeSantis pushed for election integrity reforms that are now part of state law.

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].


  • Bill Majoten

    December 6, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    This is so hilarious! Walter Price plays footsies with crazy and then they bite his face off!

    • eva

      December 7, 2022 at 4:35 pm

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  • It's Complicated

    December 7, 2022 at 10:40 am

    He’s like a political gnat. He should focus upon practicing law.

  • Ron

    December 7, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    Sabatini Is insane! Do not elect him. He has been trying to destroy Florida single family neighborhoods for years.

    • Josh Green

      December 8, 2022 at 3:41 pm

      Yep 100%. After that dog fighting thing, I don’t know how this guy isn’t even in jail. Typical Republican though.

  • Salvadore Perez

    December 8, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    Wasn’t this guy once involved in a dog fighting ring in Sarasota?
    I know he was arrested in that bar brawl a few years back, but I don’t know what ever happened with that.

  • Impeach Biden

    December 9, 2022 at 1:37 am

    This guy has too much baggage to be GOP chair.
    The Democrats would tear this guy apart, just like all those poor dogs of his tore each other apart in Sarasota.

Comments are closed.


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