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Two candidates file for Sarasota District 2 City Commission seat

Liz Alpert and Ron Kashden are running for Sarasota City Commission District 2.
Liz Alpert and Ron Kashden are running for Sarasota City Commission District 2.
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Sarasota Mayor Liz Alpert has one challenger thus far for the Sarasota City Commission District 2 seat in Laurel Park resident Ron Kashden. 

Alpert was first elected in 2015 and is serving her second term as mayor. The Sarasota mayor and vice mayor are selected annually by a vote of the City Commission. Kashden frequently appears before the commission to speak on topics, often opposed to the majority of the board.

Both have filed for election with the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office. This is the first time Kashden has run for elected office.

“I’m running to give the public a seat at the table and bring a voice of reason to civic discussions.” Kashden said in a news release. “Engaged leaders approach problems the way software engineers handle bug reports — identify issues, research the causes, consider possible solutions and then implement fixes.”

According to a news release, as a city commissioner Alpert has supported the creation of The Bay, renovation of the Bobby Jones Golf Course and Nature Park, and the new playground and splash pad at Bayfront Park. She has supported incentives to create more affordable housing and multimodal transportation options to relieve congestion.

“This election is about moving our city forward with smart solutions for local issues,” Alpert said in the news release. 

Professionally, Kashden is a certified public accountant and former CEO of a fund accounting software company in New York. Alpert is a family law attorney and principal of Alpert Law of Sarasota.

Kashden’s wife, Kelly Franklin, has filed a defamation lawsuit against City Commissioner Kyle Battie over his racism allegation against her related to an apparent hoax social media post. Battie made the claim during a Jan. 16 commission meeting at which time he displayed a printout of the post that included Franklin’s identity. Franklin has denied creating the post and her attorney has claimed Battie was aware the post was false weeks before presenting it in the public forum.

To date, Battie, is the lone candidate to have filed for his District 1 seat and incumbent Erik Arroyo is being challenged by former Planning Board member Kathy Kelley Ohlrich in District 3. Both Battie and Arroyo are running for a second term. With four-year terms, elections for the three district seats and two at-large seats alternate on two-year cycles.

The election for Sarasota City Commission is non-partisan. Candidate filings are updated at the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections website at



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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