SEMINOLE — Jardelina Dias Souto has bowed out of the crowded City Council race.
Souto, 62, a first-time candidate who served on Seminole's charter review commission last year, withdrew Dec. 28, less than a month into the campaign. She gave her notice in a one-sentence, notarized statement: I, Jardelina Dias Souto, would like to withdraw my name for consideration as a candidate for the city of Seminole council for the March 9, 2010, election due to personal reasons."
Souto could not be reached for further comment.
Seminole voters will still have plenty of choices for the two vacant council seats. Eight candidates — all men — are left in the race. They are seeking the seats currently held by Dan Hester and Thom Barnhorn. Hester is not running for re-election, but Barnhorn, 53, is. The two top vote-getters will be elected.
The other seven candidates are Christopher Burke, 45, a Largo police officer; Thomas J. Christy, 58, a regular at City Council meetings who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in New York state; Arden Ford, 70, a businessman who briefly ran for the council once before but withdrew because of family issues; Allen L. Godfrey, 57, the city's former public works director: Randall Hendricks, 62, a political newcomer to city politics; James Joseph Quinn, 70, back for a second attempt at a council seat; and Bill Smith, 42, an employee of Progress Energy.
Seminole has a council-manager form of government that provides for daily management by a council-appointed city manager. The seven-member (including the mayor) council is responsible for policy issues and passing the budget. The six council members serve three-year terms and are paid $5,562 each year. Members meet twice a month and hold workshop meetings as necessary. Seminole has about 18,700 people. Residents have until Feb. 8 to register to vote in the election.
Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds will hold an orientation session for candidates at 6 p.m. Thursday in City Hall, 9199 113th St. N. The meeting, which is open to the public, is designed to familiarize candidates with the workings of the city government.
Anne Lindberg can be reached at (727) 893-8450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.