Ken Welch, considered a leading contender for Bill Young’s seat, tells me he’s not running

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Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, considered to be a leading contender in the race to replace the retiring Bill Young in Congress, tells me this morning he is not running for CD 13.

“After reflection and prayer, I have decided not to run for the 13th Congressional District seat at this time,” Welch writes in an email exclusive to SaintPetersBlog.

Continued Welch, “There are several reasons, including the fact that my St. Petersburg residence is not within the boundaries of the district  – that disparity needs to be corrected by the courts or a future legislature. South and Central St. Petersurg should be in the same Congressional District as the rest of South Pinellas County, in my opinion.”

“But more importantly,” Welch writes, “this is an important time of healing and transition for my family. My focus is on my family, and my current duties as a Pinellas County Commissioner and Chairman.”

He did not mention it specifically, but Welch’s beloved father, David, passed away last month.

Elected to the County Commission in 2000, Welch has been three times been re-elected. From 1987 to 2001, he was a senior accountant for the Florida Power Corp. (now Duke Energy) and an assistant vice president of St. Petersburg College. He sits on the board of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and the Pinellas Homeless Leadership Board, among others. Considered a likely St. Petersburg mayoral candidate in 2010 and 2013, he decided not to run, citing unfinished business on the commission.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.