Pinellas Realtor group announces School Board and County Commission endorsements

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The Pinellas Realtor Organization has endorsed seven local candidates for office.

The list of recommendations includes all five School Board races and both county commission seats up for grabs.

Not surprisingly, the endorsements include longtime Commissioner John Morroni for the District 6 seat. Morroni has been on the commission since 2000. He faces government critic anti-Greenlight Pinellas activist Tom Rask. The Pinellas Realtor Organization strongly endorses the Greenlight plan, which would increase the sales tax by a penny to pay for increased bus service, bus rapid transit and light rail.

“It’s no secret that we support Greenlight, it’s good for the community,” said PRO director of government affairs Joe Farrell.

The group endorsed Republican Johnny Johnson for the District 4 spot. Johnson is the top fundraiser in a crowded field of Republicans vying to replace outgoing Commissioner Susan Latvala.

Johnson, a Dunedin dentist, is one of 10 candidates running, including some with high name recognition like Clearwater Mayor Dave Eggers and former state Rep. Peter Nehr.

The only Democrat in that race is Mark Weinkrantz.

PRO endorsed incumbents Terry Krasner, Peggy O’Shea, Linda Lerner and Rene Flowers for districts 2,3,6 and 7, respectively. They endorsed Ken Peluso for district 4. The incumbent in that race, Robin Wikle, is not running for re-election.

Per its policy, PRO would not release the questionnaire given to candidates to make endorsements. However, the group’s director of government affairs said the decisions were based on current issues pertinent to the offices, campaign structure and property rights.

PRO will release more endorsements for state legislative seats soon.

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 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 [email protected]