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Tales from the Mark Side: Red wave hits Manatee County on primary day

Tales from the Mark Side

The Conservative Voice in Manatee County

Red wave hits Manatee County on primary day

By Mark Young


It was quite the election night in Manatee County and signals that the hard work of Conservatives paid off in a big way.

I congratulate the candidates, the hard-working Conservative groups, Republican Party and most importantly, the Republican voters for understanding what is at stake for our community.

For a primary election, Republicans turning out more than 46% is impressive. Democrat turnout was just over 30% and that my fellow Patriots sealed the proverbial deal.

While we will celebrate our candidates, I cannot emphasize enough the gratitude I have to our Republican voters who stepped up for the changes we need so very much.

But it’s just the first step. We have so much more work to do. However, let’s take a breath and enjoy what happened on election night.

My first congratulations go to Congressman Vern Buchanan. Manatee County voters gave Buchanan more than 86% of the vote.

As I have said all along, I believe Martin Hyde still plays an important role in our movement but he should be focused on winning a local seat to prove that he really is the Conservative he professes to be, and that his interests are indeed focused on the citizens.

He just didn’t prove it to me during this election cycle.

Manatee County voters clearly didn’t believe Hyde was sorry for berating a female deputy during a traffic stop and didn’t forget the horrible things Hyde said about Trump supporters.

Buchanan is endorsed by Trump for a reason and his supporters have spoken. If you are one of the people I have seen speaking out against Buchanan, I ask you to rally behind him in November. He will do us proud.

I also wholeheartedly congratulate my friend Jason Bearden who ousted my other friend, incumbent Carol Whitmore, with an impressive 61.54% of the vote.

I honestly thought this race would be more of a toss up in the primaries and as I told Jason, his victory would depend on voter turnout. Well, voters turned out and his victory was assured.

Keep in mind that this victory comes during a time when Democrats were attempting to cheat yet again by getting their party members to register as Republicans for the primaries to retain Whitmore and Servia.

If you remember a little while back, I reported the efforts of Florida democrats targeting Manatee County to turn us blue. Well, I guess their attempts to turn us blue left them a little red faced. Pun intended.

Bearden should cruise to victory in November, but that doesn’t mean we get complacent. Now we make sure we finalize our valuable efforts and guarantee his election.

And if ever Manatee County voters got something right, it was certainly in the county commissioner District 4 race where Mike Rahn also won an impressive primary over RINO Misty Servia with 62.46% of the vote.

I believed Mike’s race would end up pretty much where it did. Servia had proven she was no Conservative.

Congratulations to who will undoubtedly be our next county commissioners, Mike Rahn and Jason Bearden. It will be an exciting time for Manatee County in 2023. I look forward to seeing what you both can do.

Congratulations to Chad Choate who held off political newcomer Sean Conley with 55.30% of the vote. It was a lot closer than I thought it would be considering Conley’s campaign made zero noise.

I ask Choate to take this close victory against a newcomer and a poor ground campaign as a signal. It’s time to make some noise on this school board. The learning curve is over and it’s time to show us what you can really do. I put my support behind Chad because I believe he can do it. It’s time.

And a huge congratulations to Richard Tatem who essentially won in a landslide, but squeaked by the necessary 50% of the vote to claim the victory outright.

This school district will be well served with incumbent James Golden off this board. Golden’s activities in his one term has clearly been about self interests, which is why he has attempted to run for office multiple times.

He needed to go and Manatee County families are the ultimate winners in this race. Congratulations again Richard. This was a huge victory for our community.

I sent out congratulations to Cindy Spray last night on social media and she deserves it because even though she didn’t garner enough percentages to avoid a November runoff, she survived a critical moment and ultimately still walked away with the most votes.

That’s a huge signal to me in a school district that is typically blue.

Now one can argue that between Harold Byrd Jr. and Susan Agruso, who are essentially democrats, scored about 56% of the vote. One could assume that democrats will rally behind Byrd who moves on to face Spray in the General Election runoff.

I, for one, don’t make that assumption. Spray got into the race fairly late in the game. Agruso did a good job with her campaign in expressing herself as the fiscal Conservative against Byrd even though her voting record is liberal when it comes to candidates.

It got her a quarter of the votes. The runoff not only gives Spray time to focus her campaign against Byrd, but she survived to the General Election when voter turnout is even stronger for Republicans.

If I were to make an early prediction, Agruso’s vote will likely be split into Byrd’s and Spray’s corners, still giving Spray the political edge. Coupled with a strong Republican turnout, even though District 2 is the county’s bluest district, I still think Spray wins this race.

We are finally, at long last, getting solid Conservative voices on this long do-nothing school board. Republicans must rally to Spray’s campaign. Contact her and volunteer. Her victory will ensure a school board that is finally ready to demand the accountability for which Manatee County parents are asking.

With the primaries out of the way, we will have so much to discuss leading up to November. But for now, relax. You’ve earned a break.

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop being vigilant or no longer being aware and informed. Keep it up Manatee County.

I couldn’t be prouder of you all. A special thank you to April and Duane Allison with We the People Trump Train Manatee and the Lakewood Ranch Republican Club, as well as the Manatee County Republican Party.

I’m sure I’m missing some but these three organizations have been front and center as far as my inner circles go so I have personally witnessed their hard work and determination. Congratulations to all and may God Bless America and may God bless Manatee County.

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