Sarasota Memorial Hospital is under threat and some Democrats are piling on
Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Some whack-job Republicans want to privatize Sarasota Memorial Hospital, but a Democratic operative is playing an equally dangerous game.

It’s been a relatively quiet Primary season in never-boring Southwest Florida.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has once again drawn a GOP Primary challenger straight out of the looney bin. State Rep. Fiona McFarland is, as of this writing, unsurprisingly running unopposed for the GOP nomination as she has become a burgeoning force in Tallahassee. There’s a relatively contentious County Commission race between a Gov. Ron DeSantis appointee and a former Sheriff, though neither candidate is overly impressive.

But somehow, the races that have caught residents’ attention in this region — and in some cases, the nation — are those that seemingly have no reason to be a part of any conversation in any sane universe: Hospital Boards.

The stories have already been written about a slate of whack-job Republicans who want to privatize Sarasota Memorial Hospital versus a slate of Republicans who oppose privatization and are fighting to defend a hospital viewed by many as the crown jewel of the county.

But that’s not what this column is about.

This column is about the sheer hubris, arrogance and malpractice of a local Sarasota Democratic operative who decided he wanted to align with the COVID-denying cuckoo-birds to put Sarasota Memorial Hospital at risk.

Let me explain.

A Democrat has not won a partisan countywide election in Sarasota County since 2020 when Barbara Ford-Coates was re-elected as Tax Collector for the umpteenth time. Ever since then, the county has only become increasingly red.

So, with that cold hard reality in mind, a political novice by the name of Daniel Kuether — the boyish Chair of the Sarasota County Democrat Party — came up with a brilliant idea. It went something like this:

“Let’s run Democrats in all four Hospital Board races, close the Republican Primaries, and disenfranchise half the county from being able to vote in an election where people’s actual health and medical care are at stake!”

Kuether, to his credit, succeeded and was able to manipulate four patsies into thinking they have a snowball’s chance in hell of victory in November.

Their names? George Davis, John Lutz, Vicki Nighswander and Alan Sprintz.

I’m sure these individuals are well-intentioned with impressive résumés, but politics is a numbers game and when it comes to Sarasota County, the numbers don’t lie.

Instead, these Democrats have been brainwashed by an unhinged party operative who recently picked a fight with the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club and one of its esteemed leaders, Morgan Bentley, who also happens to be among the most respected Democrats in the region.

With qualifying right around the corner, it will be fascinating to observe what kind of backlash the Sarasota Democratic Party and their candidates receive for such blatant negligence and disregard for the health and safety of their community.

Who knows, maybe the four candidates will come to their senses and do the right thing.

If not, they are equally to blame for the threat facing Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • rick whitaker

    June 7, 2024 at 11:46 am

    a dem in a brilliantly colored red race, still needs to be there no matter the odds of winning. when i read about a person not wanting to run because there are too many gop nearby, that bothers me. dems need to stay in the face of the gop to ever catch ground. there is no mountain too high to climb.

    • Elvis Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

      June 9, 2024 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks for the heads up Beloved Online Host Peter,
      Ron, The Ronald, and I, EPA, will look into this Travisty Of Justice Monday Morn Ting, over coffee to determine how to best rectify this Injustice to Florida’s Beloved Citizens in the Sarasota area of The Great FREE State of Florida,

  • Richard D

    June 7, 2024 at 11:52 am

    Is Sarasota Memorial Hospital a public hospital? According to a Wikipedia article, a public hospital is one that is government-owned. It says that in almost all the developed countries, except the U.S., public hospitals provide care free and they get reimbursement from the government. If the politicians decide to privatize the Sarasota hospital, then it would operate like a for-profit corporation. For example, it would be incentivized to provide the treatment protocol for COVID in return for large reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.

    • Norman Wirtz

      June 9, 2024 at 5:33 pm

      Wrong. If it were privatized it would tend to reduce service to patients to maximize profits. They would include increasing nurse to patient ratio and dropping indigent care as just happened in Manatee County “Manatee Memorial Hospital ends indigent and uninsured patient care over funding shortfall”

      • Kenny Evans

        June 9, 2024 at 11:19 pm

        This is correct

  • Louise Machinist

    June 8, 2024 at 11:53 am

    How about an equally snarky article about the insanity of voters who might possibly choose a “whack-job” to destroy SMH instead of voting for a well-qualified candidate who doesn’t have R by the name? Any unthinking, unknowing and uncaring Rs’, combined with any No Party voters who don’t know, don’t care or don’t bother to vote are the threat to SMH–not to mention the evil geniuses of the Freedom Health movement–J Ladapo, R DeSantis, R Scott, G Steube, M Flynn… Time to get all politicians of that ilk out of office and start over.
    Voters: Wake up!

    • Doc Sterling

      June 8, 2024 at 1:53 pm

      Oh my goodness. You are as delusional as your Democrat party leadership. I’m an NPA and I want to vote for a candidate that CAN win. This is about OUR HOSPITAL. Not school board or state leg or congress. this should be a nonpartisan race but it’s not. And because I live in SARASOTA COUNTY it is fact as the author points out that Democrats cannot win countywide.

      • Vicki Nighswander

        June 10, 2024 at 7:57 pm

        The Aug. primary is always iffy. Often it is the passionate folks who show up. If the Freedom folks show in numbers in Aug., guess what will happen in Nov? On another note, Republicans have been collecting large sums of dollars from
        Democrats for their campaign. What if they lose in Aug? Where will this money go? Will they do the right thing and give it to the very qualified, community oriented, committed to SMH excellence Democratic candidates for our campaign or will they give the funds to their Republican counterparts to undermine OUR SMH? Please also consider what happened in 22 when there were
        ONLY Republican candidates. The moderates and incumbents were not adequately supported by the Republican party and the Freedom candidates got in.
        Please be wary of these articles. They don’t tell the full story.

        • Doc Sterling

          June 12, 2024 at 3:05 pm

          Ms. Nighswander. You lost by 17 points in 2020. The County is even more Republican today. Shame on you for putting yourself before the hospital and all of us who depend on it.

  • Richard Stammer

    June 8, 2024 at 6:50 pm

    Wow, Doc! Yes, it is a fact that Democrats can’t win IF there are no Democrats to vote for. But now there is. The Hospital Board has ALWAYS been a partisan race. It’s called the two-party system. Remember that? It’s only after 2022 that Democrats have chosen to get involved to keep the crazy wing of the Republican Party from corrupting our hospital. In addition, this is NOT an open primary. Republicans can only choose Republicans, and vice versa for Democrats. If registered Republicans choose anti-vax and privatize-hungry Republicans, it will be left up to Democrats in the general election to try and defeat them, with some help from Moderate Republicans and NPAs like yourself.

    • Doc Sterling

      June 9, 2024 at 1:31 pm

      Richard – it is only a closed primary because Democrats made it so. Hence I am unable to vote in the primary. As the article rightly points out Democrats have not won COUNTYWIDE in Sarasota since 2016. Fast forward 8 years and we’ve become even more Republican. Simply put, a Democrat cannot win a partisan election in this region as the registration numbers prove.

  • Doc Sterling

    June 9, 2024 at 1:22 pm

    My god. Unopposed in the primary election. AS THE ARTICLE STATES.

  • Elvis Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    June 9, 2024 at 3:14 pm

    Good afternoon Sarasota,
    Despite the “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism” trying to turn this real issue Peter is concerned about you can all Relax Your Sphincters secure in the knowledge that Ron The Ronald and Elvis will have this Important Issue resolved no later than 8:15 AM Monday Morn ‘Ting.
    Elvis Pitts “Doing The Job Nobody Else Wants To” American

    • Speedy y SloPoke

      June 9, 2024 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks Elvis
      My Cousin. SloPoke says your comments are the only ones which make sense on this story of tje hospital.
      SloPoke says the other commenters are Dook Four Brains Leftards and most likely nattering nabobs of negativity.
      Thanks Elvis Speedy wrighting four SloPoke.

  • tom palmer

    June 10, 2024 at 1:11 am

    Covid-denying Cuckoobirds? Are you talking about the Republicans or the Democrats?

    • Norman Wirtz

      June 15, 2024 at 10:52 pm

      Clearly he is talking about our Witch Doctor Surgeon General

  • Kirk Farynissz

    June 10, 2024 at 6:35 am

    Sarasota is a political funny farm!!

  • Sarasota Sarah

    June 17, 2024 at 11:10 am

    Now that qualifying is over, and there are write-ins that would have closed those primaries even without a Dem running, any new thoughts on your take here? I’d suggest that a savvy observer of Sarasota politics would know there was absolutely no chance these primaries would remain open, and offering voters a choice in November was the only way Democrats and NPAs in Sarasota County would have any voice in these elections. It was *always* going to be a closed primary. It only takes a look up the road in Manatee County, where write-ins used email addresses like [email protected] to register, to see the writing (ha!) on the wall. Perhaps Kuether didn’t deserve quite the level of vitriol used here, since his strategy turned out… to be the right one?

Comments are closed.


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