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Pat Frank, Kevin Beckner to debate at Tampa Tiger Bay next month

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Fresh off their David Jolly-Todd Wilcox duel last week, the Tampa Tiger Bay Club has announced that the three major candidates for the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Courts race this year – Democrats Pat Frank and Kevin Beckner and Republican Eric Seidel – will engage in the next forum, scheduled for next month.

The Frank/Beckner encounter continues to be perhaps the most interesting primary election in the Tampa Bay area this year, and they’ve already demonstrated that they won’t be holding anything back in trying to gain public support.

At a candidates’ forum hosted by the Democratic Veterans Caucus of Florida and the Disability Caucus of Florida last month in Tampa,  Frank went after Beckner on some of his votes on the county commission, as reported by The Tampa Tribune.

As has been extensively reported, nearly a year ago that Beckner announced he was running for the office, saying Frank told him she would step down in 2016 and suggested he run for the seat.

Frank disputes that version: “I never said I wasn’t going to run.”

Much of the Hillsborough County political establishment, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, have already pledged support for Frank, in public service representing the county in one form or another for over 40 years.

Beckner is looking for his first opportunity outside of the Hillsborough County Commission, where he was elected initially in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.

Meanwhile, Seidel is making the most of his first run for public office. The clerks office seat is rarely covered this closely so early in an election cycle, so the winner will already have put a focus on the race going into November. And Seidel should have solid name recognition because he was a consumer reporter for WTVT-Fox 13 nearly two decades.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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