Christian Ziegler and Al Maio emerged victorious from Sarasota County Commission races, maintaining the Republican Party’s dominance of the local governing body.
In District 2, Ziegler earned 55.6% of the vote to defeat Democrat Ruta Maria Jouniari. Ziegler will take the seat of outgoing commissioner Paul Caragiulo.
Ziegler, a Republican state committeeman and digital marketing professional, said voters had two distinct choices in the District 2 race. He described himself as a staunch conservative, a proponent of low taxes and property rights. He pledged to represent the entire county, but he saw the results as an endorsement of his philosophy.
“Now, my job is to work on behalf of all voters, but I am going to bring my principles onto the board, Ziegler said. “Initially, what I need to do is come in an look around and see what's going on.”
In District 4, Maio earned 53.9% of the vote. The incumbent beat out Democratic challenger Wesley Anne Beggs, who drew 46.1%.
Like Ziegler, Maio saw the outcome as validation of his conservative principles — as well as his performance in office during his first term. Looking ahead, he pledged to continue to work toward the same priorities he’s pursued on the commission.
“We’ve got a meeting tomorrow, and we just continue on for four years,” Maio said.
Ziegler and Maio will be sworn in at a ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.