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Guest Commentary

A Tale of Two Pictures


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are two pictures and an accompanying 500 words that should prove that James Satcher was the wrong choice to be appointed our Supervisor of Elections.

The photo above is from November 2022, posted by former  Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh to her Facebook page. The image shows Anthony Pedicini holding up seven fingers, representing his role as the political consultant for all of the elected commissioners. 

Pedicini runs the political consulting firm SIMwins that helped get all the current commissioners elected. It is known that Mr. Pedicini was the commissioners’ political consultant because of the abundance of posts he has made on social media and because we can see their payments to him during the primary campaign season. Florida’s Sunshine Laws also give us access to their messages with Mr. Pedicini after the election. Local reporting shows that he has continued to text the commissioners to advise and influence, even after election season was over.

His name was even thrown around with the county’s redistricting controversy.

If, as a commissioner, Mr. Satcher feels like, in his words, he’s “on a string,” and he must bend to the wills of others to make unity, does he have what it takes to be Supervisor of Elections? As a commissioner, Satcher said he has been “asked so many times … not to cause any type of division or strife.” He has been told to “just go along with” everyone else.

We need a Supervisor of Elections who the residents can trust will not bend to the will of his “buddies” with deep pockets and connections. We need a Supervisor of Elections who is above reproach and whose political connections wouldn’t call into question the validity of local elections. We need a person who is not entrenched in the swamp of sordid Manatee politics. Commissioner Satcher is not that candidate.

Political appointments have lasting consequences. When Governor Rick Scott appointed Scott Hopes to the school board, it propelled him into the county spotlight and led him to later be selected as county administrator despite his lack of the proper background and credentials. Currently, Hopes has three felony charges pending against him. He is charged with grand theft, notary fraud, and fraudulent use of public records during his time as Manatee County Administrator.

Commissioner Satcher's appointment to Supervisor of Elections leaves a vacancy for yet another appointment to the BOCC. That person will have to be appointed by the governor. The impact of Satcher’s appointment to Supervisor of Elections is inestimable. Appointments are dangerous because that person you propel to the county’s forefront may not always be the right person or, in Hopes’ case, a person of integrity. The public trusted him without any question because he had been appointed by their governor to a position of authority.

The same voices that encouraged Governor Rick Scott to appoint Hopes now appear to have told Governor DeSantis to appoint Satcher. That should make us all pause and think for a moment. Appointments have lasting consequences. Do we want a Supervisor of Elections who “just goes along” with things? The governor should have appointed someone who knows the job inside and out and whose political connections won’t taint our faith in local elections. That didn't happen. Now it's up to voters to make the right decision at the ballot box this August.

Sue Denham
Bradenton, Florida


5 comments on this item

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  • lib224

    Fortunately, we can kick him out in November!

    Sunday, April 21 Report this

  • N_Alice_Newlon

    No, the election is in August. That is when Farrington will run against Satcher. More than likely ONLY Republicans will be able to vote. VoteManatee.org

    Sunday, April 21 Report this

  • Islandman

    I sent Governor Desantis numerous emails, urging him to not appoint Satcher. Evidently, Beruff and Pedicini, Satchers puppet masters have more pull than I do!

    Well here is one “Republican” who will not be voting for Satcher.

    I will also be urging my many Republican friends not to vote for this illegitimate candidate.

    Sunday, April 21 Report this

  • rjckeuka4

    Here's another Republican who won't be voting for Satcher! Unfortunate only Republicans will be voting. Look out for Pedici!

    Sunday, April 21 Report this

  • sandy

    I have been a registered Democrat since 1975. Where I came from most people were Democrats and if you wanted a civil service job you had better be one. Also parents were Democrats. I never got the civil service job and I have never voted party line. I have changed my registration to Republican because it is the only way I will be able to vote in the primary in August. We need change in Manatee County. We need people who are not controlled by special interests. Let's make Satcher a lame duck and vote Farrington.

    Sunday, April 21 Report this