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Mayor and City Commission seats up for grabs in Tarpon Springs; one elected unopposed

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tarpon Springs candidates are off to the races in what turns out to be a bit of a messy matchup. Two candidates are vying for Mayor in a race in which both are former City Commissioners. Two other candidates are vying for a commission seat in a race that pits to experienced campaigners against one another.

Businessman Chris Alahousos faces chiropractor Frank DiDonato to replace incumbent Mayor David Archie. Alahousos served as Vice Mayor of Tarpon Springs and six years on the City Commission.

DiDonato is a former Mayor serving from 1998 until 2004 and as a City Commissioner from 1991 until 1994.

“I’m proud of what was accomplished during that time. If elected, I will strive to make you proud of our future accomplishments,” he wrote on his personal Facebook page announcing his candidacy.

The former Tarpon Springs Mayor faces a formidable challenge against Alahousos. The former Fortune 500 manager had already raised more than $25,000 as ov November 12 according to his website.

Alahousos is endorsed by some big names in the county including Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, State Senator Jack Latvala, State Representative Chris Sprowls and School Board member Ken Poluso.

Alahousos has been a resident of Tarpon Springs for 48 years. He’s a Marine Reserves veteran and a member of the local Rotary Club.

The winner in that race will replace Archie who has served as Mayor since 2010.

Former Pinellas County Commission candidate Tim Keffalas is running for City Commission Seat 3 against former City Commissioner Susan Slattery.

Keffalas most recently ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in a crowded Primary to replace former County Commissioner Susan Latvala. He’s also run unsuccessfully against his current opponent before. Slattery won re-election to the City Commission in 2011 against Keffalas.

Slattery served on the City Commission from 2008 until 2013. According to a campaign letter posted on her Facebook page she “stepped away from government” to “focus on the private sector.

Now Slattery is planning a comeback telling supporters she wants to “continue on the path of fiscal responsibility that preserves our heritage while preparing for the future. Slattery claims that during her previous service she maintained “City services while reducing total tax revenue during the Great Recession and the Recovery.

Tarpon Springs City Commission Seat 4 is also up for election next year. Incumbent David Banther was re-elected unopposed Wednesday after the city’s qualifying deadline passed without a challenger.

Banther was elected in 2013. He previously served on the City’s Budget Advisory Committee and the Heritage Preservation Board. He works as a managing partner at Banther Consulting Corporation. Banther is a member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers and the Tarpon Springs Rotary Club. He’s also a 2015 graduate of Leadership Pinellas.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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