Candidate: Michael S. Bennett
Part Affiliation: Republican
Hometown: Brainerd, Minn.
Occupation: Florida State Senator; President of Aladdin Wand Electric
Education: B.A., Drake University (1975); Master’s of Business Administration, Drake University (1976)
Senator Michael Bennett has represented Manatee County in Tallahassee for the last 12 years and wants to further act in favor of the community as Supervisor of Elections. Bennett won out in a crowded field in the Republican primary August 14 and faces Democrat Charles Williams Jr. in the general.
Bennett says that his ability to revamp a failing company and achieve profit, as well as having once managed over 300 salespersons would be assets. Bennett has also taught at various universities and served four years in Vietnam. He seeks to “ensure all eligible voters are able to vote and all ineligible voters are removed from the voting roles.”
Bennett has been married to his wife Dee for 45 years and is involved with the Government Efficiency Task Force, Mote Marine Advisory Council, Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Community Leadership Council. He served as President of the Greater Sarasota Sertoma Club’s at one time, remaining a Florida Biofuels Association, Inc. and Gulf Coast Builders Exchange Board Member.
As a Florida Senator, Bennett was involved in several controversial issues, including the legislative effort to dissolve the state's Department of Community Affairs and efforts to defeat Amendment 4 (Hometown Democracy Act). More recently, he was at the center of Florida's controversial new voting laws. During the 2011 session, Bennett was famously quoted while defending the law, criticized as designed to supress the votes of minorities, saying, "I don't have a problem making it harder (to vote). I want the people in the state of Florida to want to vote as badly as that person in Africa who is willing to walk 200 miles for that opportunity he’s never had before in his life. This should not be easy.”