It’s no secret, but it is official: Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice is running for re-election.
The 47-year-old Democratic incumbent filed his paperwork with the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections late last month. He’ll be running to retain his District 3 seat, which covers most of St. Petersburg and all of St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island and Madeira Beach.
“[I’m] incredibly proud of the important work we’re doing on the County Commission,” Justice said to FloridaPolitics.com. “Others talk partisanship, we talk partnerships.”
Justice was first elected to the post in 2012, after defeating one-term Republican incumbent Nancy Bostock.
Before serving on Pinellas County Commission, Justice spent a decade in the Legislature; in the House from 2000 to 2006 and in the Senate from 2006 to 2010.
Justice is now vice chairman of the County Commission. He’s also on the Tampa Bay Estuary Program Policy Board, the Health & Human Services Leadership Board, and chairman of the Pinellas County Historic Preservation Board.
Some of Justice’s most recent county influence includes spearheading an ordinance that will allow posting human trafficking awareness signs throughout predetermined areas of Pinellas County, and helping fight poverty and blight in Lealman – one of Pinellas’ five most impoverished areas – by assisting in the establishment of the Lealman CRA.
Justice is the second sitting county commissioner to file for re-election. The first was Janet Long, whose seat, like Justice’s, is at-large, meaning all of Pinellas County will decide who holds it.
So far, Justice’s only official competition is Juvenile Welfare Board member Mike Mikurak.
Mikurak, a 61-year-old Republican from St. Petersburg, filed to run for Justice’s County Commission seat in August. To date, he’s raised nearly $35,000 in campaign contributions – an impressive number considering that it came from only one month of fundraising.
Justice’s first campaign contribution reporting period will be Nov., which means it won’t be published by the Supervisor of Elections until early Dec.
The Pinellas County Commission is Democrat-heavy, with four of the seven commission members in that party. However, like Justice, Democratic commissioners Long and Ken Welch will also be running for re-election in 2016. If even one loses – and incumbent Republican Karen Seel wins (the only Republican seat up for grabs in 2016) – Republicans will again control the panel.
The 2016 general election falls on Nov. 8. County Commission seats for Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7 will all be up for grabs. Commissioners serve four-year terms and are paid about $90,000 per year.