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Tampa Firefighters are backing Eric Seidel in the Hillsborough Clerk of the Courts race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Eric Seidel, the former Fox-13 consumer reporter who is now running as a Republican taking on Democrat Pat Frank in the race for Hillsborough Clerk of the Courts, has been endorsed by the Tampa Firefighters union.

“I am pleased to receive the support from the Tampa Firefighters in my election,” Seidel said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The Seidel campaign sent reporters a copy of a letter dated August 25 informing him of the endorsement, which was signed by Steve Suarez, president of the Tampa Firefighters Local 754 and Bill Townsend, the secretary/treasurer of the union.

Unlike some other organizations that issue endorsements, the Tampa Firefighters Local 754 say they don’t go seeking all candidates in a race when making an endorsement. Instead, they say they consider only those who reach out to them.

“We do not seek candidates, candidates seek us,” Suarez told SPB in July, adding that, “We have never reached out that I can think of in the last 20 years, and we continue to stay just as we are.”

When contacted, Frank congratulated Seidel for receiving the endorsement, while also noting that she’s been endorsed by the Hillsborough County Firefighters.

“Our firefighters risk life and limb on a daily basis to protect our community’s lives and property,” Frank said. “This is why I am so proud to have the support of Hillsborough County Firefighters.”

Seidel is an attorney who has been in private practice since departing WTVT in 2010. He’s now running against Frank, who has served as the clerk of the court since 2004. Frank crushed Kevin Beckner in the Democratic primary last week by 18 percentage points.

That campaign was marred by lots of negativity, something that Seidel vows will not define his race against Frank. Last month Seidel signed a formal pledge declaring to keep the focus in the general election on the issues.


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

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