Phillips ends run for Pasco Commission
New Port Richey Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips has ended his quest for the Pasco County Commission District 5 seat held by three-term incumbent Jack Mariano.
In an a statement released Thursday afternoon, Phillips cited the declining health of his mother for his inability to focus his full attention on the campaign.
His mother, Penny Mott, 83 has been hospitalized three times in the past six weeks and is now home after a recent 13-day stay.
"It’s not fair to anybody to support me if I can’t be fully engaged,’’ Phillips said in an interview. "My mom made huge sacrifices for us. You always hear it’s family first. Well, I need to pay my mother back for what she did for me and my sister as a single parent to give us all the opportunities we had.’’
He made the same sentiment known in his written statement announcing his withdrawal.
"This is our opportunity to pay her back, make her comfortable and show her the love and respect she has earned. In particular, as her primary caregiver and decision maker it is my responsibility is to be available whenever needed as she progresses through her treatments,'' it stated.
Phillips was one of three candidates challenging Mariano. The others are business owners Chris Cooley and Thomas Celotto, both making their first runs for public office. All are Republicans. The primary election is Aug. 30.
Mariano has a large fund-raising advantage, having raised more than $40,000, more than triple Phillips' campaign account. Mariano received significant contributions from the building and development communities, and he also has the support of the politically popular and powerful Sheriff Chris Nocco.
In ending his countywide campaign, Phillips will be able to remain on the New Port Richey City Council for the remaining two years of his term. He initially planned to resign this summer to allow the vacancy to be filled in the November general election. That point is now moot.