By SARA KENNEDY
MANATEE — Tea Party Manatee has issued endorsements for the Aug. 26 primary election, choosing Republican Gov. Rick Scott to head its slate, and locally, recommending Democrat Michael Gallen and Republican Robin DiSabatino, both incumbents serving on the Manatee County Commission.
Gallen is facing two experienced Democratic candidates in the race for the District 2 commission seat, former sheriff’s deputy Corie M. Holmes and Palmetto City Commissioner Charles B. Smith. Write-in candidate Troy Thomas is also running.
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In the commission District 4 race, DiSabatino faces Republican Timothy S. Norwood, an engineer in marine design and manufacturing, who is repeating a 2010 run for the seat.
In nonpartisan Manatee County School Board races, the Tea Party supported Rodney K. Jones, an official at State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, over high school social studies teacher Charles “Charlie” Kennedy for the school board District 2 seat. Incumbent Barbara Harvey, who has held the seat 16 years, did not seek re-election.
In the District 4 race, the tea party backed incumbent Karen H. Carpenter, an attorney and former executive director of the Women’s Resource Center, over former school board member Frank Brunner.
In the District 5 race, board chair Julie B. Aranibar got the Tea Party’s nod.
She faces three other well-known candidates, including former Manatee Technical Institute chief Mary S. Cantrell; former Bradenton Councilman James T. Golden, and former active duty U.S. Marine and property manager Carlton “Les” Nichols.
The Tea Party, which is a political movement but not a formal political party, also gave a vote of confidence to two local lawmakers, state Reps. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, and Greg Steube, R-Sarasota.