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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas Commissioner Charlie Justice won't seek Bill Young's seat



Pinellas Commissioner Charlie Justice, another would-be candidate for the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young's seat, has taken himself out of the running.

In an email sent on Friday afternoon, Justice, who has spent just under a year on the Commission, thanked supporters and said no thanks to the race.

"If this was six years ago or six years from now, I might have a different answer but today I have to say no. The time is simply not right for me and my family," he wrote.

Three years ago, he had a different answer. Justice, a former Democratic state senator, ran against Young unsuccessfully in 2010. Recently, he was one of a handful of elected officials and candidates banned from attending the late congressman's funeral by his wife Beverly.

Four Pinellas Commissioners' names had been tossed out initially when Young announced his intention to retire. Commissioner Ken Welch, a Democrat, and now Justice, have said they will not run. Democratic Commissioner Janet Long and Republican Commissioner Karen Seel have yet to publicly announce their intentions.

Democratic lawyer Jessica Ehrlich, who ran against Young unsuccessfully in 2012, is running again and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink has expressed interest in the seat. For what it' worth, she was spotted earlier this week in downtown St. Petersburg having coffee with Welch.

Justice's full email:

Thank you to so many supporters who have encouraged me to seek election to our now open Congressional Seat. I appreciate the faith and confidence that so many have expressed.

If this was six years ago or six years from now, I might have a different answer but today I have to say no. The time is simply not right for me and my family.

The ten years I spent serving in the State Legislature were incredibly rewarding. That fact has made this decision extremely difficult.

However my time with my family is precious and I currently have the honor of serving as your County Commissioner. We've had a great first year focusing on bringing jobs to Pinellas, enhancing public health, stabilizing our budget forecast, and planning for improvements to flood control and water quality.

Being able to be in public service and not have to sacrifice time with my family is an incredible gift. One that I am so grateful for and one that I don't take for granted.

Perhaps Tallahassee or Washington will be the right place for us one day down the road, but for us, for now, there's no place like home.

[Last modified: Friday, October 25, 2013 5:50pm]


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