Carol Whitmore in hot water after signing Manatee Co. Commission contest scuttling
Holmes Beach Police File Report on Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore after shooting the opponent by Jason Bearden campaign signs.
This is according to a front page report in Anna Maria Island. The newspaper reports that Whitmore showed up June 11 at the police station with three signs she removed from properties, including three promoting Bearden, a Republican opponent. Some were from private property and another was posted on city land.
Police say the islander taking the signs could warrant a theft charge. They also said Whitmore misquoted a city ordinance limiting the time before a campaign sign could be placed, which has since been ruled unconstitutional.
Based on similar cases elsewhere in the state, it is a criminality that could warrant a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.
But Whitmore, in a statement to Florida Politics, said the sign issue isn’t something that deserves as much attention as his opponent’s extreme positions.
“Bearden should be more concerned about his accusations of voter fraud and his public statements about turning Manatee County reserves into bitcoin,” she said.
This is just the latest friction in what is quickly becoming a high-profile political fight in Manatee County.
Bearden last week qualified to challenge Whitmore to a primary for her at Manatee County Grand Commission headquarters.
It should be a heated August primary.
Whitmore raised nearly $114,000 for the seat while Bearden raised over $71,000. Carol Ann Felt Pens also qualified for the seat but only raised $100. In particular, a written candidate, Manuel Antonio Lamasalso qualified, meaning the Aug. 23 Republican primary will be closed to only Republican voters.
Another candidate who presented himself in writing was Robert Lesherwho said to Herald Tribune earlier this month, Bearden asked him to apply.
Later, Bearden posted photos of himself on social media going door to door with llamas collect petitions.
Additionally, Bearden has been accused of advancing QAnon-associated theories about social media.
Whitmore has served on the Manatee County Commission since 2006 and was recently endorsed by Rep. Vern Buchananwho will also be seeking re-election this year.
But she found herself increasingly in the minority on the votes, with a Conservative majority elected in the last two election cycles dominating council decisions.
The race is one of three Manatee County Commission contests on the ballot this year. Democratic Commissioner Reggie Bellamy faces primary challenge from former commissioner Charles Smith and a general election battle with the Republicans Amanda Ballard in District 2. Republican Commissioner Foggy served faces a challenge of Mike Rahn in a primary GOP also closed by written candidates.