George Kruse pulls away from longtime Administrator Ed Hunzeker, moves to general election.
GreyHawk Landing’s George Kruse has been out campaigning daily for the last seven months, talking with Manatee County residents about everything from growth to the county’s budget.
Those efforts paid off Aug. 18 when he won the Republican primary for Manatee County’s District 7 (at-large) seat. Kruse secured 57.37% of of the vote, or 20,751 votes, and beat out his opponent Ed Hunzeker, who retired in February 2019 after serving as Manatee County’s administrator for 12 years. Hunzeker had 15,417 votes.
Kruse now will face write-in candidate Thomas Whitten Dell in the November general election.
Kruse said his message has been one that seeks to put the residents’ voice into the public spotlight and bring new perspective to the board and to the county.
“I think it’s pretty clear based on today that people want a voice,” Kruse said. “Everyone should have a say in their government.”
Kruse, whose background is in commercial real estate finance, said he is ready to tackle tough issues, such as whether the county’s millage
rate and reserve levels are appropriate, creating solutions for affordable and workforce housing and managing growth.
East County resident Bill Smock said he supported Kruse because he did not want to see “old administration” on the board.
“George is going to bring fresh eyes,” Smock said.
Lakewood Ranch’s Richard Tatem agreed he was ready to have a representative without a political background.
“I like his business experience,” Tatem said. “We have a citizen government, not a career government official.”
Republican James Satcher also bested incumbent District 1 Commissioner Priscilla Whisenant Trace, securing 55.3% (5,689) of votes. He now will face Democratic contender Dominique Shauntel Brown in the November election.
“We do have November, so we’re going to keep working hard and talking to the people and get ready for the county to move forward. Our plan is to be a part of that. We know it’s a real challenge.”
Satcher said his priorities are public safety, dealing with traffic congestion and bringing a conservative viewpoint.