Incumbent Manatee County District 4 commissioner Robin DiSabatino will not run for re-election in November.
“I am going to retire,” said DiSabatino, who was first elected in 2010.
A Republican, DiSabatino said she turns 65 in August and her husband will be 70. One aspect of her decision to not run for re-election to a third term was the recent passing of her mother. “She just wanted me to enjoy the rest of my life.”
The real estate agent indicated there were “a lot of moving parts” to her choice.
“I had all the intentions of running again,” as she had filed in April 2017. But she said her view has been “always client centric,” and felt that some of her fellow commissioners, who she did not name, “are not of the same mindset.”
“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of south county,” DiSabatino said.
By far, DiSabatino had raised the most money for her re-election, $36,424, compared to what would have been her Republican challengers Laurie Galle, $1,775, and Mark Black, $2,037. No Democrat has filed for the seat.
DiSabatino said she thinks her vacancy will open up an opportunity for someone who wants to make a difference in the county, “not just someone who wants to be something and needs the job.” She said she doesn’t see those qualities in Galle or Black.
When contacted by phone on Friday, Black said of DiSabatino’s retirement, “Well, that’s fantastic news for me.” He addressed the commissioner’s comments that he was unqualified, saying he has a master’s degree in public administration and owns a small business.
“I wish her well,” Galle told the Bradenton Herald. “I understand her reasonings.”
Having attended nearly every recent county meeting, Galle said she also feels she is qualified for the position and is looking forward to November.
Other incumbent county commissioners seeking re-election this year are District 2’s Charles Smith and District 6’s Carol Whitmore. The qualifying period ends June 22.
DiSabatino has recently been working to represent the victims from an August 2017 flood, and doesn’t intend to stop now. She is holding a community town hall with county staff for the affected neighborhoods on March 22 at the Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church on Prospect Road.
“I’m not a lame duck,” she said. “I still have a lot of work to do.”