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Sarasota Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015 3 years ago

Dent’s chief of staff files for 2016 election

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Supervisor of Elections second-in-command Ron Turner has filed to run for Kathy Dent’s post in the 2016 election.
by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

A second Republican contender has filed to run in the 2016 election.

Ron Turner, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent’s chief of staff, aims to fill Dent’s post in the coming election, and he has a 30-year career in public service to bolster his run. He also spent the day after submitting his paperwork overseeing 27 employees during the Sarasota City Commission election Tuesday.

“I feel passionately about the right to vote and the elections process, and I have nearly 10 years of elections experience,” said Turner, who served as DeSoto County supervisor of elections during the controversial presidential election in 2000.

"I think he’s looked at as both a confident and fair person, and he’s well liked among Democrats and Republicans."


A fracture appeared in the local GOP when former County Commissioner Jon Thaxton ran against Dent in 2012, resulting in negative campaigns that cost a combined $137,000 from both candidates. Turner expects to tap into a base of Republican support, which includes endorsements from State Rep. Ray Pilon, State Senator Nancy Detert and Congressman Vern Buchanan, with whom Turner worked in the mid-2000s.

"I think (Turner) has a lot of support from within the party, and I think his years of service as Dent’s chief of staff will take him a long way,” said Sarasota GOP Chairman Joe Gruters. "I think he’s looked at as both a confident and fair person, and he’s well liked among Democrats and Republicans."

During the 2012 election, Dent ran on a platform touting her experience, and won with nearly 75% of the vote in the primary.

“I think it is important for an elections administrator to have experience and knowledge,” Turner said. “I am able to bring that to the table."

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