Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett is stepping down from his position early.
In a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis, the 79-year-old Republican said he was leaving office to spend time with family. His resignation is effective March 1.
“I will certainly miss working with my wonderful team that has run elections time after time with a record close to perfection,” Bennett wrote. “A team that in the last eleven years watched our voting population grow by 20%, kept our budget consistent, and in fact never asked for a budget increase. I could not have accomplished this without the best staff that I have ever had the privilege to work with.”
Bennett identified his desired successor, and asked DeSantis to appoint Scott Farrington, Bennett’s Chief of Staff, to fill out his term.
“I cannot believe there is a better, more accomplished, or more knowledgeable person than Scott to fill this position.”
Farrington, according to his LinkedIn page, has served as Assistant Supervisor of Elections in Manatee since 2013. He worked nearly a decade before that in the elections office in neighboring Sarasota County.
Bennett’s current term as Supervisor of Elections ends in November this year.
Ultimately, the appointment will be at DeSantis’ discretion.
Bennett previously served in the House and Senate. He first won election to the Legislature in 2000, casting his first vote on a House effort to settle the Presidential Election that year.
Two years later, he ran successfully for a seat in the Senate. He would serve a decade there, rising to the post of Senate Pro Tempore. Over his tenure, Bennett also chaired the Senate Community Affairs committee and served on Budget, Banking & Insurance, Criminal Justice, and Military Affairs, Space, & Domestic Security committees.
Once his time in Tallahassee concluded, he ran for Manatee County Supervisor of Elections in 2012, and has subsequently won re-election.
He also has chaired the Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council and served on the Government Efficiency Task Force.
Before his time in public office, Bennett founded Aladdin Ward Electric in Bradenton.
In Tallahassee, he crafted landmark legislation including a growth management bill in 2009.
Bennett was up for re-election again this year, and his retirement will open a constitutional office in the Southwest Florida county.