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A record 527 women were running for Congress as of April, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, most of them Democrats. Florida—and Sarasota and Manatee—are following the trend.

More than 200 Democratic women have filed to run at all levels in Florida, says Pamela Goodman, executive director of the Florida chapter of Ruth’s List, which recruits and assists Democratic women to run for office. “That’s over three times more than had declared to run two years ago,” she says. Goodman cites as motivating factors the 2016 election results and the upset victory of Sarasota attorney and state Rep. Margaret Good, who won the District 72 House seat in February.

That said, “Sarasota-Manatee has been blessed with a large number of female candidates in the past,” says Republican National Committeewoman Kathleen King, who’s been in politics locally since 1992 and who represents Florida at the Republican National Convention. And, she adds, it makes sense that as women’s roles expand in other industries, they’re expanding in politics as well.

Here’s our region’s crop of first-time female candidates and what they’re running for.

Manatee County Commission

Cynthia R. Keller (R)
County Commission, District 6, At Large

Erika Lundquist (D)
County Commission, District 4

Laurie Galle (R)
County Commission, District 4

Manatee County School Board (a nonpartisan race)

Alice S. Kaddatz (D)
Manatee County School Board, District 2

Sarasota County Commission

Wesley Beggs (D)
County Commission, District 4

Sarasota County School Board (a nonpartisan race)

Pamela Ann Gavette (R)
School Board, District 5

Sarasota County Circuit Judge (a nonpartisan race)

Maria Ruhl (R)
Circuit 12, Group 12

Florida State House

Tracy B. Pratt (D)
District 71

Liv M. Coleman (D)
District 73

Melissa Howard (R)
District 73

Florida State Senate

Olivia Babis (D)
District 23

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