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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Brickfield, Jolly eyeing Bill Young seat

11

October

Sounds like the likeliest Republicans so far to jump into the race to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young in 2014 are former Pinellas County Commissioner Neil Brickfield and David Jolly.

Jolly, 40, a lobbyist and former general counsel to Young, is likely to open an exploratory account next week. Jolly is no household name, but with extensive Washington contacts he should not be underestimated.

Brickfield tells Buzz, "I'm leaning more for running than against." The 50-year-old executive director of the Police Athletic League lost his county commission seat last year after backlash against him for voting to remove fluoride from the water system.

"I'll never vote against fluoride again. I've certainly learned my lesson, and I've been thinking about it long and hard for a year," said Brickfield, brushing off the suggestion that his 2012 loss could raise doubts about his strength in 2014.

"I've run four countywide elections," he noted. "Why wouldn't I be as good a candidate as anyone else."

A number of other names are still percolating on the sidelines, the biggest being former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. But Baker's interest seems questionable at best. He has long said he would not jump into a big campaign until his kids are out of high school - and one is a senior, one a junior - but offices executive offices like attorney general have always seemed like a more logical fit for Baker.

On the Democratic side, SaintPetersblog reported first that County Commissioner Ken Welch has ruled out running, while 44-year-old infomercial pitchman Anthony Sullivan of St. Petersburg also is interested in running. Sullivan is an appealing fellow, but it's too early to know how a British transplant best known for pitching Oxiclean and campaigning for a Pier design overwhelmingly rejected by St. Pete voters would go over in the district. Currently Sullivan is registered without party affiliation.

Here's Welch's Facebook posting:

Congressman Young has served our community well, and it is an honor to be considered a candidate to succeed him. After reflection and prayer, I have decided not to run for the 13th Congressional District seat at this time. There are several reasons, including the fact that my St. Petersburg residence is not within the boundaries of the district - that disparity needs to be corrected by the courts or a future legislature. South and Central St. Petersurg should be in the same Congressional District as the rest of South & Central Pinellas County, in my opinion.

But more importantly, this is an important time of healing and transition for my family. My focus is on my family, and my current duties as a Pinellas County Commissioner and Chairman. I offer my sincere thanks to my friends and supporters, with the knowledge that for everything there is a season, an appointed time and a purpose.

[Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013 3:06pm]

    

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