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Lennard will not seek another term as Hillsborough County elections supervisor

Earl Lennard confirmed Wednesday that he will not seek another term as Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections.

Lennard, 69, said he'd like to retire while he's still in good enough shape to enjoy more leisurely pursuits. He confirmed his planned retirement after his chief of staff, Craig Latimer, filed paperwork Friday indicating he intends to run for the office in 2012. Lennard will stay on until the end of his term, which is early January 2013.

Lennard, a Republican and former superintendant of the Hillsborough County School District, and Latimer, a Democrat and former Hillsborough County Sheriff's major, both applied to replace former elections supervisor Phyllis Busansky after her death in June 2009. Latimer had been chief of staff for Busansky, who had been in office for just six months when she died. Former Gov. Charlie Crist, then a Republican, picked Lennard.

By law, Lennard had to face voters at the next general election following Busansky's death in order to finish out her term. He did, last year, and won when he failed to attract any opposition.

Latimer, 58, who was in law enforcement for 35 years, said he takes pride in having helped turn around an office that was the center of ongoing controversy under former supervisor Buddy Johnson, who Busansky defeated in 2008.

"Putting this office back to where it needed to be has been very rewarding," Latimer said.

In recent months, Latimer's name has been featured on stationery from the office as well as its web site. Both Lennard and Latimer said the addition of his name was made in the interest of being transparent about elections office operations and before Lennard decided to retire. A spokesman for the office, Travis Abercrombie, said the stationery change was made last summer and the web site addition of Latimer's name directly below Lennard happened early last month.

Lennard said he will be removing Latimer's name from both now that he has declared his candidacy so that it does not appear that the office is favoring any candidate. Democrat Jackie Beiro and Republican Julianne De Priest also have filed to run for elections supervisor.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 4:21pm]


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