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Van Ostenbridge Switches Races; Will Face Kruse in GOP Dist. 7 Primary


MANATEE COUNTY — Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge has announced that he will switch races and seek the countywide Republican nomination for District 7 instead of District 3, for which he is the incumbent.

Van Ostenbridge, who is deeply unpopular with island voters in his district, will now challenge incumbent George Kruse in the Republican primary in a district where all Republican voters in Manatee County can participate. Democrats Aliyah Hurt and Sari Lindroos-Valimaki have also filed for the District 7 race.

"For me, it boiled down to this—Manatee County Republicans deserve a truly conservative representative who believes in the free market; who will never apologize to liberals; and who will protect and defend every God-given Constitutional right," said Van Ostenbridge in a press release. "I can continue to represent West Bradenton and at the same time restore the promise of conservative representation to the county as a whole. George Kruse is a liberal. I am a staunch Trump conservative. George Kruse thinks government knows best. I know the people know best."

Van Ostenbridge has been engaged in a feud with Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth since being elected in 2020. The mayor and island native refused to give Van Ostenbridge her endorsement in that election and says he's never forgiven her for it. In his first commission meeting, Van Ostenbridge began threatening the city were they not to create more public parking. Van Ostenbridge ally Will Robinson, who represents the island and west Bradenton in the state legislature, led legislative actions allowing the county to permit its own parking garage on the island and a study of the consolidation of the island cities with the City of Bradenton.

Since first running for office, Van Ostenbridge has enjoyed strong financial support from developer Carlos Beruff and others in the industry, who have pumped money into his campaign coffers and funded PACs to attack his opponents.

A campaign for a countywide race is much more difficult to wage without big money support. Van Ostenbridge's handlers likely think it will be easier to win via campaign cash than a small district that is largely disenchanted with the scandal-encircled commissioner who served time on criminal probation during his first term after getting caught stealing property from one of his constituents.

April Culbreath, another Van Ostenbridge ally who had already filed for the District 7 race,  switched to the District 3 race that Van Ostenbridge is vacating near simultaneously, as had also been rumored. Republican Tal Siddique has also filed and qualified for the primary in that race. Diana Shoemaker is the only Democrat who has filed in District 3.


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  • ner125

    Someone please inform KVO that God did not give us our Constitutional rights!

    Friday, May 31 Report this

  • Cat L

    Not a surprising strategy, considering how much he is disliked for being basically a thug. We'll see if it helps him. He has gotten quite the reputation as Beruffs doo-boy...

    Friday, May 31 Report this

  • jimandlope

    Kevin Van Ostenbridge is correct, the people know best. That is why he is ducking out of district 3. They don’t want him. Jim Tierney

    Friday, May 31 Report this

  • sandy

    KVO's handlers must have felt because of actions he did in the years since he was elected that his chances of winning dwindled. There had been speculation he would change to at large. He has to realize that the rest of the county is aware of his crap. More people are engaging this year than any year before in my 30 years here. Since District 7 is the only commissioner seat I can vote in this year, I guess this means that shortly I will start getting his political crap in the mail. I know George has made some mistakes but I would still rather see him than KVO. I changed parties so I could vote for Farrington, now voting in District 7 has now also become important in the primary. Let's vote out both Satcher and KVO in the primary.

    Friday, May 31 Report this

  • Debann


    Friday, May 31 Report this

  • lib224

    Tal Siddique seems to be someone who will actually do what residents want done. It's troubling that he supports convicted felon Trump, though. Kruse should be able to beat KVO. Kruse seems to actually have a conscience.

    Friday, May 31 Report this

  • Dave

    I switched registration to Republican to vote against Satcher in elections race. Now I’ve got a twofer with a chance to get rid of him and KVO.

    Friday, May 31 Report this

  • kmskepton

    It will be an absolute joy to vote against KVO. An early Christmas present!

    Friday, May 31 Report this

  • David Daniels

    Anyone paying the least bit of attention knows that Kruse has been the ONLY commissioner that has been going to bat for taxpayers while VanOStenbridge has been satisfying developers, on his knees under Carlos Beruff's desk. Kruse pushed for fair impact fees to relieve taxpayers from the burden of subsidizing overdevelopment, while VanOstenbridge dragged his feet, every day of delay taking money from us and giving it to developers. Kruse pushed for Veteran's housing, VanOstenbridge called it a homeless camp. Kruse questioned why Satcher needed a $830 million increase, VanOstenbridge just handed it over. Kruse questions why we need $30 million for a park that veterans didn't ask for, VanOstenbridge just hands it over. Kruse listens to constituents, he responds thoughtfully to email, he adds the animal shelter to the agenda and questions why the new kennels are taking so long. VanOstenbridge makes jokes with Bearden and denies shelter volunteers a chance to speak after they waited all day. VanOstenbridge responds to email with a copy/paste sentence that means he doesn't give a crap.The contrast could not be more clear.

    Saturday, June 1 Report this

  • mp1616

    Such a cowardly move. When the going gets tough, the weak get going to another District. Keep your eye on the prize residents of District 3: electshoemaker.com - Diana Shoemaker for D3 commissioner.

    Saturday, June 1 Report this

  • Dianna

    KVO approved almost $ 6 million taxpayer dollars in 6 months without proof of need, not to mention the money approved for HR contract going to his friend with no experience. If Culbreath is elected, we will have another developer puppet. Kruse has been the only commissioner asking questions and speaking up for the citizens of Manatee County.

    Saturday, June 1 Report this

  • nellmcphillips

    Seems KVOs surveys the past few weeks has him running tail. Tal Siddique is a hard working ethical choice for district 3. As for Kruse verses KVO it may be close but Kruse has shown he will stand up against the corrupt developers and listen to what the people of Manatee County want. The County does not need or want KVO. He still needs to go! KVO has shown he can’t be trusted. KVO is claiming he is a Trump supporting extreme right wing issues but seriously Kevin this election is about the County not national issues like illegal immigration. I have never heard of illegals coming in on our shoreline. Silly to fight for national issues when this is a local election.

    Sunday, June 2 Report this

  • WTF

    KVO.... One & Done Club

    The government is so out of control. It is so bloated and infested with fraud and deceit and corruption and abuse of power.

    Ted Nugent

    Sunday, June 2 Report this