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The Villages
Monday, June 14, 2021

Sumter Commission incumbent taps Tallahassee firm for re-election help

Steve Printz

A Sumter County Commission incumbent has tapped a Tallahassee consulting firm for re-election help.

Villager Steve Printz is seeking a second commission term and faces two GOP challengers in the Aug. 18 Republican Primary – Villagers Oren Miller and Daniel Myslakowski. The head of The Villages Republican Club, Jerry Prince, is running as a write-in candidate in a move which eliminated 45,000 Democrats and No Party Affiliation voters from participating in the balloting.

Printz and fellow incumbents Al Butler and Don Burgess have drawn challengers outraged by last year’s 25 percent tax hike unanimously approved by the Sumter Commission. Printz made the motion for the tax increase.

Printz has turned to a Tallahassee consulting firm to help him in the race. He has hired ’96 Consulting & Marketing for what appears to be a direct mail campaign.

’96 Consulting President Ryan Smith describes himself as “an accomplished political operative steeped in Republican and conservative politics with a decade of hard-nosed, high-stakes campaign experience,” according to the company’s website.

Printz has raked in $72,700 in campaign contributions, far out raising his opponents. Most of the money came from contractors working for The Villages.

Thus far, Printz has spent the bulk of his campaign cash in The Villages Daily Sun with largely biographical ads which fail to mention his incumbency.

But his ’96 Consulting direct mail campaign could be targeted attacks on his opponents.

We start by crunching the numbers, finding your margins for victory and isolating targets for persuasion,” according to ’96 Consulting’s promotional language.

This campaign mailer was created by ’96 Consulting in the 2017 contest in which Luther Strange hoped to fend off Mo Brooks in Alabama

Among the campaigns highlighted on ’96 Consulting’s website is the 2017 GOP primary in Alabama in which appointed U.S. Sen. Luther Strange was facing Congressman Mo Brooks in a fight for second place and the chance to take on the frontrunner, Judge Roy Moore. Strange won and advanced to a runoff where he was beat by Moore. But even with a grudging last-minute endorsement from President Trump, Moore lost in the general election to Democrat Doug Jones, who now represents Alabama in the U.S. Senate.

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