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The first candidates forum for the Sarasota County Commission hopefuls was held three days after the closing of the qualification period. Nine men and women are officially in the race to fill two open seats on the board. Current Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Nora Patterson are being forced out of their seats by term limits, though both have said they did not plan to seek new terms even before a 2012 Florida Supreme Court ruling left them no choice. The forum was sponsored by the Sarasota County Coalition of County Neighborhoods (CONA). Lourdes Ramirez, president of the organization, is one of the candidates. Of the nine running for the county board, one is Democrat Ray Porter, who is vying for the District Four seat. Four are Republicans, two each running in District Two and District Four. Two are write-in candidates, and two have "no party affiliation." H e r e i s t h e b r e a k d o w n f o r C o u n t y Commission District Two: Paul Caragiulo and Shannon Snyder are both Republicans, and both are Sarasota city commissioners. They will face off in the Aug. 26 party primary. Two seats are open and nine candidates are running. Seven attended the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations forum on Monday, June 23. Photo by Stan Zimmerman THE 'DEBS' AND THEIR FIRST 'FORMAL' SEVEN OF NINE COUNTY COMMISSION CANDIDATES ANSWER FORUM QUESTIONS ABOUT ISSUES SUCH AS THE 2050 PLAN AND THE LIDO RENOURISHMENT PROJECT By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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