A Democrat has stepped into the race for the District 4 seat on the Sarasota County Commission.
Ray Porter, 56, announced his candidacy Friday, in response to the county's procurement issues over the years, to encourage greater economic diversity as the economy recovers and to support sustainability, according to a news release. The 34-year Sarasota County resident is currently director of communications for the Sarasota Association of Realtors.
Joining the 2014 General Election race, Porter will face the winner of the primary between Republicans Al Maio and Lourdes Ramirez. The three candidates are vying to replace Commissioner Nora Patterson, who has represented Siesta Key and middle portions of the county since 1998.
Maio has raised about $98,000 since he filed to run for office last year, while Ramirez has raised just more than $24,000.
Porter spent several years as a reporter for south Sarasota County newspapers, eventually taking a job as news editor of the Venice Gondolier. In 2005, he left the Bradenton Herald for his current position with the Sarasota Association of Realtors, according to Porter's website.
Adding a Democrat to the race means county voters will only be able to vote in the primary of the party for which they are registered, if all candidates qualify.
Republican Marie Nisco defeated Porter by roughly 5% points to take the District 5 seat on the Charter Review Board in 2008. He raised more than $1,500 during the campaign for that position.
As a coach, manager and board member, Porter has volunteered for 20 years with Sarasota Little League, and has also helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity.