The five open seats on Sarasota County’s Charter Review Board now officially each have candidates, including a few familiar faces.
Two-time Sarasota City Commission candidate Richard Dorfman is the latest to file to run for the board, which reviews and proposes changes to the Sarasota County Charter. Former County Commission candidates Brian Slider and Jennifer Cohen, who is the only Democrat campaigning for the board, have also entered the 2014 race.
“One of the reasons I’m running is that certain people are trying to turn the Charter Review Board into the second County Commission,” Dorfman said. “The concern is that the CRB shouldn’t be used as some political tool to push a particular agenda.”
Dorfman was a powerhouse in campaign funding for the 2013 City Commission election, raising more than $60,000, while spending days knocking on doors and running through a debate circuit. However, he lost the runoff election to current city commissioners Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman.
“I don’t think you campaign the same way for the Charter Review Board,” Dorfman said. “It’s pretty low-key and it will remain low-key with me.”
Dorfman said he hopes to keep the board a reactive, rather than a proactive, entity.
Paul Cajka Sr. and incumbent James Gabbert round out the candidates for the remaining seats on the board.
In other election news, another contender for the District 1 seat on the Sarasota County School Board has emerged. Retired St. Bonaventure University professor Paul Schafer filed to run in the burgeoning candidate pool, which includes Geoffrey Griswold Fisher, Bridget Ziegler, wife of State Committeeman Christian Ziegler, and longtime Sarasota County School District planning administrator Ken Marsh.
“I have degrees in elementary education, special education, reading and language arts and school administration,” Schafer wrote in an email. “Thus, I believe that my educational background, especially in reading and language arts, and my practical experience in education combine to make me a viable candidate for the Sarasota County School Board.”
Ziegler has endorsements from local Republicans, including state representatives Ray Pilon, Doug Holder, Jim Boyd and Greg Steube, as well as Sarasota GOP Chairman Joe Gruters and Sheriff Tom Knight.
Sarasota County Commission candidate Al Maio, who is running for Commissioner Nora Patterson’s seat, has topped $100,000 in campaign contributions, according to a June 3 financial filing, with more than $40,000 in expenditures. Fellow Republican contender Lourdes Ramirez has raised $24,000.