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Get to know your local candidates

The upcoming elections feature a slew of candidates ranging in much more than just their political affiliations. We've compiled a couple bios to help you fill out that ballot. The General Election will take place on Nov. 6.

County Commission Race, District 2

Ruta Jouniari, Democrat

Jouniari, a Sarasota businesswoman and community activist, earned a B.S. in Finance and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts. She began her career with Aetna U.S. Healthcare, developing markets in Boston and Tampa. 


In 2004, disenchanted with the insurance industry, Journiari founded her own company, ISG, Inc., an international staffing company works with the federal government to place veterans in good jobs that allow them to utilize their specialized skills. Her experience in the healthcare arena motivated her to co-found the Universal Crescent Clinic, a 501 c3 nonprofit, that provides free medical care to people without insurance. Ruta currently serves on the organization’s board of directors and volunteers at the clinic on Saturdays.


Jouniari will run in the General Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access her website here.

Christian Ziegler, Republican

Ziegler graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor's in Political Science and Criminology.

He began working for Republian U.S. Congressman, Vern Buchanan, U.S. Senator, Scott Brown, and Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, before running for office on his own. Ziegler was elected as Sarasota County State Committeeman in 2012 and 2016. Ziegler was one of the 304 Republican Electors whose votes elected President Donald J. Trump.

Outside of his political career, Ziegler is a regular contributor to ABC7, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Miami Herald. He founded Microtargeted Media, LLC, a digital marketing agency in Sarasota.

Ziegler will run in the Primary Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access his website here.

County Commission Race District 4

Wesley Anne Beggs, Democrat

Raised in Tampa, Beggs relocated to Sarasota to attend New College of Florida where she received a B.L.A. in Political Science.

After graduating, Beggs created a marketing and media agency focused on local businesses and organizations. Outside of her career, Beggs has volunteered with schools in the area such as Sarasota Military Academy, Riverview High School and Sarasota High School. Beggs received funding for educating students on non violent conflict resolution. She has also worked with SailFuture, a peer mentorship program in collaboration with Booker High School. Her campaign is focused on affordable housing, economic growth and sustainability. 

Beggs has stated that she comes from a family of public servants, with her great-great uncle, G.V. Leland, the former City Manager of St. Petersburg, who commissioned the City Hall in use today.

Beggs will run in the Primary Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access her website here.

Alan Maio, Republican

Maio graduated from Seton Hall University where he received his Bachelor's in Accounting. Hall had previously served in the military before being honorably discharged.

A businessman, Maio has owned several restaurants, a consulting agency and vacation rental business. Maio's career has also involved community engagement, such as the Sarasota County Code Enforcement Board and the Sarasota County Board of Zoning Appeals.


Maio will run in the Primary Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access his website here.