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Siesta Key Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018 1 year ago

Maio's re-election fundraising outpaces challengers

Maio received more money from businesses than other candidates, Ramirez donated more of her own money and Beggs raised the least.
by: Cassidy Alexander Staff Writer

As the race to represent Siesta Key on the County Commission begins, so do the candidates’ fundraising efforts.

The most recent reports available through the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office show Republican incumbent Al Maio has raised more than $80,000 in monetary and in-kind contributions, leading his opponents in the District 4 race Lourdes Ramirez and Wesley Beggs by more than a 6-to-1 margin.

Ramirez, a Republican who challenged Maio in the 2014 election but lost, has raised about $12,000. Democrat newcomer Beggs has raised about $5,000.

Finance documents show Maio has spent $8,816 so far. Ramirez spent $237. Beggs spent $1,206.

Maio began fundraising in December, while Ramirez and Beggs began in February. In January, Maio raised $48,000, more than half of his total so far.

A portion of Maio’s fundraising comes from business owners on Siesta Key, including Chamber of Commerce chairman and architect Mark Smith ($200), Daiquiri Deck’s Troy Syprett ($200), Beach Bazaar’s Wendall Jacobsen ($100), Best Western’s Maria Bankemper ($200) and Village restaurant owners Chris Brown ($200), Mike Granthon ($200) and Kay Kouvatsos ($100).

Lourdes Ramirez

Maio also received donations from land-use attorney Charlie Bailey and Bo Medred, who presented a zoning amendment to the commission that opens the door for taller buildings to be built closer to the street in the commercial area around the Stickney Point Bridge. That measure was approved by the commission 3-2, with Maio voting yes.

Residents vocally opposed the change, and have said they were disappointed in the commission.

Maio credits these donations and others to his professional experience — experience as a business owner, as part of a large engineering firm, as a fire commissioner, and as a representative on every chamber of commerce in the county.

“Of course they would support me,” he said. “The business community is my base.”

Ramirez and Beggs rely on other bases for their support. Businesses have donated $425 to Ramirez, and $200 to Beggs.

Both candidates have made donations to themselves, where Maio has not. Ramirez has donated almost $8,000 to her own campaign; for Beggs, it’s $400.

Wesley Beggs

Both candidates have received about $4,000 in contributions from individuals. Maio, in comparison, has received more than $45,000 in individual contributions, making up the majority of his funds.

Candidates have until June 22 to file their intent to run. The primary election, if needed, will be Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

Jordan Letschert filed his intent to run for the District 4 seat in early April, but has since announced he was accepting a position on the Board of Trustees for the Florida Democratic Party. Republican Mark Hawkins filed his intent to run in 2017, but later withdrew his candidacy.

The District 2 seat is also up for election. Republicans Christian Ziegler and Alexandra Coe and Democrat Ruta Jouniari have all filed their intent to run.

I’m Cassidy. I cover news in Sarasota County, Siesta Key and the schools, plus community events if they involve dogs. I’m a Florida native, and University of North Florida graduate with degrees in journalism and graphic design. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 304.

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