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OPINION THE GREATEST POLITICAL THREAT TO SARASOTA COUNTY EDITORIAL The recent announcement — boast might be a more apt term — by the Republican Party of Sarasota that it would present its annual "Statesman of the Year" award to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, was only the latest confirmation that the local party is firmly in the control of far-right ideologues. Of course, past "honorees" Donald Trump and Sean Hannity already had mostly cemented our belief in that. The Republican Party of Sarasota essentially serves two masters. First are wealthy land developers, who want the "freedom" to pave over most of the county's earth without all of those pesky regulations that require greenspace, traffic planning, clean (and adequate) water and environmental integrity. All of that regulatory meddling gets in the way of corporate profits, which displeases the bigwigs and rouses them to seek more malleable sycophants to serve in elected offices in the That the Republican Party in our county is upcoming election (aided, ironically, by term dominated by its right wing should not be a limits, which sweep out any too-independent major concern to the rest of us, except that officials after only a couple of terms). it has engineered a virtual stranglehold on all public offices in the county, ensuring that no Second is the "mouth-breather" wing of the candidate for any of those offices can gain party — that demented amalgamation of gun election without passing the "purity" tests nuts, conspiracy theorists, xenophobes, racdemanded by this radical element. ists (including the "Take back our country"

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