Two recent campaigns in Sarasota were noted by the increased activity of negative campaigning by political committees.
One election considered a city charter amendment that would change to an elected mayor with tow added commissioners and increased powers given to the mayor. During the final two weeks of this campaign, the proponents of the amendment began a series of negative attacks targeting the current mayor (a ceremonial post, selected by the five commissioners for a one year term).
The amendment was soundly defeated.
The other election was for two at large city commissioners. Eight candidates entered the race and one candidate was targeted by a political committee (Citizens for a Better Sarasota, composed mostly of developers and related land use business people). This campaign failed as the targeted candidate (Terry Turner) garnered the most votes.
Sarasota Herald Tribune editorials have decried the negative attacks. However the negative attacks by the developer group continues in the runoff election.
The Pelican Press has urged voters to "cast only a single vote for Terry Turner" as a way to show the "bullies" that are behind these negative attacks that their tactics will not work in Sarasota.
It is also important that those contributing to these attacks be held accountable for their actions. A future column will list the contributors.