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The Villages
Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Appointed Sumter commissioner takes digital and old school paths in campaign bid

Roberta Ulrich
Roberta Ulrich

A Villager appointed to the Sumter County Commission is going both digital and old school in her campaign for election.

Roberta Ulrich’s most-recent campaign finance disclosure offers a glimpse into how she intends to run her election effort in the District 1 contest in which she faces fellow Villager Reed Panos in the Aug. 23 GOP primary race.

Earlier this month, her campaign spent $2,902 with Consensus Media LLC of Orlando for “campaign email distribution.”

The company indicates on its website that, when politicians have “high-stakes needs in Florida, they call on Consensus.”

This is a switch from the Developer-guided 2020 campaign for then-incumbent Commissioners Don Burgess, Al Butler and Steve Printz. They each hired a Tallahassee firm which steered their bevy of campaign dollars into high-gloss direct mail pieces. Most of the mail went directly into the trash and the trio backed by The Villages lost big to challengers Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search. Ulrich was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis when Search was removed due to a perjury charge.

Fellow Sumter County Commission candidate James Morris, who is running for the District 4 seat, has spent $6,260 with Consensus Media. His money is going toward “digital ads, campaign shirts and signs.” The CEMEX executive is also backed by the Developer.

While Ulrich is apparently ready to flood inboxes with email, her campaign is also going old school. She is spending more than $5,000 on campaign signs, hiring Ford Press of Leesburg to print those signs. In May, she also spent $1,054 on campaign flyers created by The Villages Daily Sun.

Thus far in June, she has taken in $2,900, of which $2,000 came from Lakeland firms, The Colinas Group Inc. and Florida Communications & Development, both located at the same address. She took in smaller contributions, including $100 from Liza Adkison, arch political foe of Villager Ed McGinty, who was acquitted earlier this year in a stalking case involving Adkison.

The largest chunk of Ulrich’s money has come from Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff. An ethics complaint was lodged against Ulrich after she voted in favor of a large distribution facility Beruff wants to build in Sumter County.

Ulrich’s opponent has raised a little more than $4,000, much of it coming out of the retired surgeon’s own pocket.

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