Quick Bit: Carol Whitmore reportedly pulled signs off private property promoting opponent James Bearden.

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Carol Whitmore reportedly pulled signs off private property promoting opponent James Bearden.

Holmes Beach Police wrote up a report on Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore after she pulled opponent James Bearden’s signs.

That’s according to a front-page report in The Anna Maria Islander. The newspaper reports Whitmore on June 11 showed up at the police station with three signs she pulled from properties, including three promoting Bearden, a Republican opponent. Some came from a private property and another had been posted on city land.

That’s just the most recent bit of friction in what is fast becoming a top-tier political fight in Manatee County.

Bearden last week qualified to challenge Whitmore in a Primary for her at large seat on the Manatee County Commission.

That’s set to be a heated August Primary. Whitmore has raised almost $114,000 for the seat while Bearden has raised upward of $71,000. Carol Ann Felts also qualified for the seat but raised just $100. Notably, a write-in candidate, Manuel Antonio Llamas, also qualified, which means the Aug. 23 Republican Primary will be closed to only Republican voters.

Another candidate who did not qualify as a write-in was Robert Lesher, who told the Herald-Tribune earlier this month that Bearden had asked him to file for the seat.

Later, Bearden posted photos of himself on social media going door-to-door with Llamas gathering petitions.

Additionally, Bearden has faced accusations of advancing theories associated with QAnon on social media.

Whitmore has served on the Manatee County Commission since 2006, and was recently endorsed by Rep. Vern Buchanan, who also will seek re-election this year.

But she’s increasingly found herself in the minority on votes, with a conservative majority elected in the last two election cycles dominating board decisions.

The race is one of three Manatee County Commission contests on the ballot this year. Democratic Commissioner Reggie Bellamy faces a Primary challenge from former Commissioner Charles Smith and a General Election battle with Republican Amanda Ballard in District 2. Republican Commissioner Misty Servia faces a challenge from Mike Rahn in a GOP Primary also closed by write-in candidates.

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