Hyde Unsure About Continuing Sarasota City Race

Todays News


It was less than a week ago when Martin Hyde said he grew frustrated and got into a shouting match with teenagers at the Sarasota’s Bath & Racquet Club. By his account, the boys were disrupting his son’s tennis lessons, and video taken of Hyde confirms he demanded the players be kicked out. “I don’t know what drugs they are on,” he told club employees.

By Friday afternoon, that video had been posted on Twitter, the Club was canceling his membership and the political website Latino Rebels had up an article, along with an accompanying account from player Sergio Dilan alleging Hyde told the Puerto Rican players to go “cut some grass,” something players also accused Hyde of saying in the video.

By Saturday, Hyde, a second-time candidate for Sarasota City Commission, had been written about by Spanish media around Florida, was the subject of an article on Heavy.com and was on the phone with a national reporter from CBS. Ultimately, he announced plans to withdrew from the local political race, as well as from any civic engagement at Sarasota City Hall, where’s he’s made weekly comments to elected officials criticizing financial and management decisions. “Please know I’m a lot of things but I’m not a racist,” he wrote in a message to city leaders and local press. “Happy Holidays to all of you and goodbye.”

On Sunday, he said he was reconsidering that decision. "A girl has a right to change her mind and so do I," he said. "I'm not saying for sure I'm just saying I'm reconsidering. Truthfully, a significant number of people said I'd jumped too soon and others that called me urged me to carry on. I made a mistake and I want to rectify it. I'm wondering if I can do that better in than out."

The whirlwind of the past 48 hours was still taking its toll on Hyde, who maintained he never said any comment about grass and had simply lost his temper with a group of young players. But he remains realistic enough to know how difficult a campaign will be after this bruising week.

“I wish none of this had happened, and a part of me wants to stand up for myself and continue,” he said. “I wanted to see the finish of it (the campaign). I put in a fair amount of time, and it feels like an unanswered question, which is could I have gone and done a little bit better than I did last time. That’s very selfish, though.” Over social media, he’s received death threats, though he doesn’t take them too serious. He’s more concerned how the episode will not impact his child at school, and out of extreme caution, he did have the child staying with family much of this holiday weekend lest one crazy person react negatively to the barrage of negative attention online.

Could he get back in the race? Hyde hasn't made up his mind. He notes his city campaign has no rapid response team. “I’m just one guy, and I’ve been faced with the walls closing in,” he said. “If I had a Kellyanne Conway who could have deflected, or whatever people do at that level, maybe I could go on. But I was caught up in the middle of something and I was panicked.”

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