Clearwater voters turn out for mayoral race
Turnout is brisk in Clearwater, where voters are deciding between incumbent Mayor Frank Hibbard or challenger Rita Garvey, who served as mayor from 1987 to 1999 and is attempting a political comeback.
At the Clearwater Beach recreation center, resident Mark McCrary, 45, said Hibbard won his vote because he felt Garvey would "take the city backwards."
Minutes later, a trio of people left the center agreeing with each other that the incumbent "was the only choice" because his challenger "has been out of the loop too long."
But Louie Johnson, 30, disagreed. He said Hibbard hasn't done anything during his three years in office. Garvey won his vote.
Miles away and on the mainland, Sam Leonard, a 62-year-old retiree, left the Morningside Recreation Center after voting for Garvey. And with good reason, he said. "I'm one of those guys who says, 'vote out all the incumbents,'" he said. "I'm not happy with anything they've done in the past year. It's too bad the other two (council members George Cretekos and John Doran) didn't have opposition. They all spend too much money."
Felix and Terry Mydosh, however, don't feel that way. Now married for 53 years, the couple said "they voted for the right man."
Added Terry Mydosh: "He's so good looking."
At the northern end of the city, at the Countryside Recreation Center, four voters said they picked Hibbard and two said Garvey. Charlie Huska, a retired Clearwater High School math teacher, said he would have voted for "Hubbard, I mean Hibbard," if he could but, despite having a Clearwater address, he actually lives in the county.
"Go figure," he said.
--Mike Donila, Times staff writer