Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Manatee Commissioner Again Opts Not to Seek Re-Election

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Manatee Commissioner Again Opts Not to Seek Re-Election

Article excerpt

DONNA HAYES: Her actions after fender-bender have sparked flurry of criticismMANATEE COUNTYManatee County Commissioner Donna Hayes was driving to a hair appointment Wednesday morning when she rear- ended another car.No one was injured and Hayes was running late, so she gave her business card to the other driver and headed on to the appointment.But later, Florida Highway Patrol troopers tracked Hayes down and cited the 69-year-old Republican from Lakewood Ranch with careless driving and failure to immediately report the 9:25 a.m. Wednesday crash.Hayes became so upset by the collision and what she said is its potential portrayal as a hit-and-run crash that she changed her mind -- again -- about running for re-election.Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, the two-term incumbent said she is dropping out of the race for the District 5 seat, attributing her decision to negative statements surrounding the campaign."I'm sick of this whole campaign," Hayes said. "I will never run for re- election again.""I don't need this. I have a life. People asked me to do this," she said.Hayes filed to seek a third term in January 2011, but she announced in June that she no longer wanted to run to spend more time on her personal life and hobbies. She officially withdrew her candidacy on Oct. 7.But about three weeks later -- apparently after being swayed by supporters -- Hayes announced again she would run for re-election.On Wednesday, she said she is out of the race for good.According to FHP reports, Hayes was westbound on State Road 70 near Third Street West when she failed to slow for traffic and rear-ended another car.Hayes, an insurance agent, stopped and gave the other driver her business card that included her name, employer and contact phone numbers. She also said she was wearing her County Commission name badge at the time of the crash.Hayes left before troopers arrived.The FHP report indicates Hayes told the other driver she had to leave because she was late for an appointment and felt ill, according to the report.Hayes confirmed that she left for a hair appointment after giving her information to the other driver, Bradenton resident Ruth Demha, 42. …

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