Ziegler, Maio, Beggs win County Commission primaries
The top fundraisers in three contested races will move onto the November general election, where the District 2 and District 4 commission seats will be up for grabs.
| 5:50 a.m. August 27, 2018
Christian Ziegler, Al Maio and Wesley Anne Beggs won the three County Commission primaries held today, setting the field for two commission races this November.
Ziegler won the District 2 Republican primary against Alexandra Coe 68.4%-31.6%. He will go on to face Democrat Ruta Jouniari in the Nov. 6 general election.
Maio, the District 4 incumbent, defeated challenger Lourdes Ramirez 66.7%-33.3% in the Republican primary. Beggs emerged victorious from the District 4 Democratic primary, defeating Mike Cosentino 67.3%-32.7%.
Ziegler said he believed his comfortable victory was a sign he connected with the Republican electorate.
“For over 10 years, I’ve been a very outspoken conservative,” Ziegler said. “I’ve worn my principles on my sleeves. I haven’t been afraid to do that, and I think tonight really showed the voters agreed with that.”
It’s been nearly 50 years since a Democrat won a spot on the County Commission, but Jouniari sees Tuesday’s high-turnout primary race — the 31.7% voter turnout in a midterm outpaced even the 2016 presidential primary — as an opportunity to capitalize on new dynamics. She singled out recent attention devoted to red tide as an issue that might drive less partisan-based voting.
“I think that's gonna be the biggest push,” Jouniari said. “I am pro-environment, and my platform, even before the red tide outbreak, was on environmental protection.”
Beggs, who earned just less than 5,000 fewer votes than Maio, was optimistic voters might seek change in November. In addition to the environment, she named development and affordable housing as key subjects she wanted to focus on headed into November.
“I think we need some fresh perspectives,” Beggs said. “I think we need to seek true representation that really speaks to the people that live here and work here.”
Maio, however, challenged the notion that a significant number of residents were dissatisfied with the status quo in Sarasota. He pointed to 2017 county survey results that showed 97% of respondents rated the quality of life in the county as “good” or “excellent.”
“I think that’s the real litmus test of what the people think about the county,” Maio said.