As qualifying continues, Pinellas Commission races shape up

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Day Two of the statewide qualifying period for local and state elections and three Pinellas County Commission races now have a handful of official candidates.

In an extremely crowded race for Pinellas County District 4, currently represented by the retiring Republican Susan Latvala, the lingering question is which of the dozen active candidates will survive the close of the qualifying period, which ends noon Friday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, five candidates have qualified — Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers, Palm Harbor dentist Johnny Johnson Jr., former state Rep. Peter Nehr, small business owner Timothy Keffalas and Mark Weinkrantz.

Republican Eggers and Keffalas qualified by submitting the required 1,668 petition signature each; Johnson and Nehr paid the qualifying fee of $5,425.74 for major party candidates. Democrat Weinkrantz also paid the fee.

The other announced Republicans — data analyst Scott Fisher; Wanda Kimsey former assistant to retired Pinellas Commissioner Bob Stewart; and Largo firefighter Macho Liberti are still up in the air.

Democrat Jack McAdoo has also not paid.

Of the two no-party candidates in the District 4 race, Carl Folkman and Marcus Harrison, neither had yet qualified by Tuesday.

For the Pinellas County District 2 race, Republican state Rep. Ed Hooper has not qualified as of Tuesday afternoon. Incumbent Republican Norm Roche and Democrat Largo mayor Pat Gerard have paid the fee. On Friday, Gerard will learn if another Democrat will step up to offer a primary challenge.

Qualifying for Pinellas County District 6 are Republican primary opponents incumbent John Morroni and Seminole business owner Tom Rask. Both candidates paid the fee. Libertarian Party candidate Jack Harris has not yet submitted his qualifying paperwork.

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.