Tales from the Mark Side

The Conservative Voice in Manatee County

Manatee County Republicans show signs of unity

By Mark Young


Republicans can fight with one another like nobody’s business whether it’s on the national stage or even more so, locally. Those disagreements and personality conflicts have been fairly intense through this election cycle.

It’s been intense, a little too dirty at times for my taste and too entrenched in protecting friendships over constituents at times. We’ve been here watching it all and it hasn’t always been pretty.

But when it counts, like it does now more than ever, Republicans can show off American strength and unity that will send soul relieving chills down your patriotic spine.

Such was the case at Saturday night’s Lincoln Dinner where the who’s who of Republican leadership gathered to hear from the dinner’s keynote speaker, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

It was a night to remember just how blessed we are to have the state leadership we have in Moody, Gov. Ron DeSantis and how very blessed we are to have our local representatives fighting for Manatee County, Florida and the country.

Jim Boyd, Tommy Gregory and Will Robinson have done well to fill the shoes of past representatives from our area like Bill Galvano, and now we will also have Joe Gruters representing southern areas of Manatee County.

It’s a dream team that is unmatched in any other area of Florida, in my opinion. Manatee County may not always get it right when it comes to our hyper local elections, but boy oh boy we can pick our state and federal representatives right out of an ocean of gold.

It was a pleasure to hear them all speak at Saturday’s dinner. Unfortunately, our Congressman Vern Buchanan was stuck elsewhere, but his District Deputy Director Chloe Conboy was on hand to knock it out of the park on Buchanan’s behalf.

If you’ve never met Conboy, you’d probably underestimate her. A consummate professional with a disarming smile will be your first impression, but when you dig deeper, she’s a deeply rooted no-nonsense Conservative who cares deeply about her Manatee County community and loves her country dearly.

In full disclosure, Conboy has been a friend of mine for awhile, but this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure to give her the credit that she more than deserves.

She’s a brilliant voice for Buchanan’s office and a fiery American spirit lives within her.

Conboy and the other speakers did a great job firing up a very large crowd at the Lincoln Dinner and closed out her presentation with an appropriate and appreciated, “Let’s Go Brandon.”

Besides Moody and MC Cindy Spray, who should be the next Manatee County School Board member, Conboy was the youngest and only other female speaker to address the event.

I saw Buchanan’s primary opponent Martin Hyde in the crowd. I don’t know if you saw the Florida Politics article where Hyde’s ex-girlfriend claimed he was suicidal and has a tendency for erratic behavior.

If you want my honest opinion, which is why I’m here, I thought the piece was disgusting. It’s not untypical for Florida Politics to do hit pieces for clicks, but like so many media outlets today, just call yourselves an opinion space and not journalism.

That story was not journalism.

A story of Hyde’s mental state while arguing with an ex-girlfriend based solely on one person’s statements is yellow journalism at its worst.

With that said, I don’t know if Hyde was acting suicidal. If he is having those thoughts, I would ask him to please seek help. But I do know he has proven erratic behavior after berating a female law enforcement officer at a traffic stop. Not to mention the horrible names he called Trump supporters before he decided he needed them for any chance to defeat Buchanan.

Sorry, I forgive but I never forget. And if there is one thing 26 years of journalism, as well as my military experience has taught me: I can smell BS a mile away.

Ironically, Hyde still does claim some support from Trump’s base despite the fact that Buchanan was endorsed by Trump. I, of course, respect the opinions of my fellow Patriots and as I tell them, I simply, but respectfully disagree that Hyde will do a better job than Buchanan.

And a vote for Hyde is removing local control over the key Ways and Means Committee that Buchanan will chair when Republicans take back the House. Maybe Hyde isn’t suicidal, and I hope he’s not, but it is political suicide to vote against Buchanan.

But we’ve covered that ground already, however, it’s just one of many good reminders why Buchanan must be reelected and why we must stick with sound, sane, quality Conservative leadership Buchanan offers the country, Florida and Manatee County.

You may not have agreed with every vote Buchanan has cast in his years in Congress, but I’d wager you agree with most of them if you look at his track record.

But my point about the show of Republican unity has to do with our common goals. We used to have a lot of common goals, and still do, but our main goal now is simple: Save America.

So yes, we can fight like cats and dogs over some minor issues. We can have policy disagreements. We can get mad at each other, and let’s admit it, even hate one another in the moment, and forgive when it’s over.

But when it comes to saving America from the wildly insane progressive liberal politics, be warned because Florida and Manatee County Conservatives are indeed on the same page.

We are indeed on the same side. During our last visit, I mentioned that we cannot win a war without acknowledging the fact that we are already at war. I also said it was time to show the left that we are a massive, united Conservative army.

Well after Saturday night, I have no doubts that Republicans are taking the offensive and our great Conservative army is prepared for the coming battles.

I have only seen Moody from afar and as impressed as I have been with her fearless protection of Florida’s rights against a Biden administration trying to put chains on us all, I walked away even more impressed.

She’s a brilliant legal tactician who has justice and truth on her side. She uses them both as justifiable weapons in her dogged fight against progressive attacks.

All I can say is thank you Ashley Moody. What a compliment you are to our beloved governor who has blanketed the state of Florida in good old fashioned warm American freedom.

We are also fortunate to have our own law enforcement and attorney general leadership in Manatee County. Thanks to people like Sheriff Rick Wells, BPD Chief Melanie Beven, Palmetto PD Chief Scott Tyler and our island chiefs, we are not suffering from woke law enforcement policies.

Our law enforcement agencies are locking people up. There are no buildings on fire, there are no businesses being ransacked and though we have our fair share of serious crimes, they are being dealt with.

It’s the judges that we need to start taking a closer look at, however. If you follow crime like I do, too many get light sentences and too many are committing crimes while awaiting other trials because bonds are being set too low.

We’ll get to that in the future.

For now, I just want to say thank you to our incredible law enforcement agencies. Manatee County loves you.

I will close with this final thought: I feel better about the Republican Party, Conservatives, freedom, the American way of life and Manatee County more than I have in a while.

We get lost in our minor squabbles at times, but I know we all see the bigger picture and are on the same page. That’s a relief.

But that doesn’t mean we stop. We must continue to stay vigilant, stay aware and stay informed.


By Mark Young

Mark Young is a U.S. Army veteran and a seasoned journalist of 25 years. His writing and reporting has garnered dozens of state press association and press club awards in Florida, Nebraska and Wyoming for investigative reporting, opinion writing, in-depth reporting and more.

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