Brian Aungst Jr. will not seek Pinellas County Commission seat

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Brian Aungst Jr., son of the former Clearwater mayor, will not run for the open Pinellas County Commission District 4 seat in 2014.

Nine candidates are in the running to replace retiring Commissioner Susan Latvala, but few have the Republican bona fides of the 29-year-old Aungst, a lawyer with the Clearwater-based Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen law firm, as well as legal counsel for the local Republican Party.

Aungst is also a gubernatorial appointee to the Juvenile Welfare Board and is widely considered one of the Pinellas GOP’s rising stars.

Aungst emailed supporters Thursday to explain his decision:

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged and counseled me over the last two months. I am honored and extremely humbled by the tremendous support I have received from across Pinellas County and the region encouraging me to run for County Commission District Four. Many of you know that I have always felt an overwhelming call to public service.

As a product of Pinellas County’s public schools, Secretary of the Juvenile Welfare Board, and a husband helping raise a young daughter here, I am passionate about quality early learning and education in our County.

As Chair-Elect of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, and an attorney representing some of the largest employers in Pinellas County, I am actively committed to job growth and economic development.

My highest professional responsibility is to the people and businesses I represent. After thoughtful reflection and prayer, my wife Cary and I have determined that this is not the right time for me to seek elected office. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Pinellas County in a variety of volunteer public service positions. In the years to come, Cary and I will continue to be actively involved in helping create a more prosperous Pinellas for all of its citizens.

Thank you again and God Bless you, Brian.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.