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Edward James set to kick off House campaign Thursday in Sarasota

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Democrat Edward James III will hold his first campaign event since filing his paperwork to run in northern Sarasota-based HD 72.

Among the attendees at tomorrow’s kick-off at the Bayfront Community Center are expected to be Mayor Willie Charles Shaw, former Mayor Fredd Atkins, newly minted City Commissioners Liz Alpert and Shelli Freeland Eddie, Sarasota School Board member and former state Rep. Shirley Brown, and former Commissioner Ken Shelin, the city’s first openly gay member of the commission.

Well-regarded Sarasota Democrat and former state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald — who held the seat before Pilon rode the 2010 Tea Party “wave” election to an upset victory over “Fitz” — will also be on hand to show his support. Fitzgerald, a political science professor at New College of Florida, was the minority caucus’ policy chair from 2008-2010.

“I’m excited to get things really rolling tomorrow,” James told “I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from members of the community both face to face and on social media about how excited they are for a fresh new candidate who’s going to bring a new vision to the Florida Legislature.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun — I’m hoping for a packed house and a lot of energy.”

James’ inaugural event is set for 12:30-2 p.m. at the BCC, 803 N. Tamiami Trail, a part of the U.S. Route 41 road that bisects Sarasota both geographically and economically.

See below for the event invitation.


Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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