Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Safety Harbor mayoral candidate unopposed, so wins automatically

SAFETY HARBOR — The city will get a new mayor in January, but his name won't appear on this year's city election ballot.

Vice Mayor Joe Ayoub was automatically elected mayor Friday when no one filed to run against him.

Ayoub will finish out the unexpired term of Mayor Andy Steingold, who is running for judge and must leave office in January whether he wins or loses his judicial race.

There will still be a special city election on Nov. 6, however, because when candidate qualifying ended at 11:59 a.m. Friday, three people had filed to run for Ayoub's seat.

They are Richard Blake, Ray R. Irvin and Robert Saltzman.

Only Blake was available for comment Friday. The 34-year-old real estate agent is a native of Pinellas County who has lived in Safety Harbor for more than 20 years. He serves on the city's Planning and Zoning Board and the Waterfront Park Steering Committee.

Blake said he has no political aspirations beyond Safety Harbor and decided to run "just to make a great place we live in even better."

Ayoub, who currently has the rotating title of vice mayor, was just reelected to his City Commission seat in January, but after Steingold announced he would be leaving the mayor's post, Ayoub was clearly in the running for mayor.

He had heard that someone else would also be seeking the post, but no one else came forward by the deadline Friday.

"I'm humbled by the opportunity to serve as mayor of Safety Harbor," Ayoub said Friday. "I'm going to work real hard to keep the city going in a good direction."

Steingold will be leaving the city in good shape, Ayoub said, "and I want to build on that."

Ayoub, 36, works for a computer company called Data Blue, which is headquartered in Atlanta. He has a degree in accounting from the University of Florida and has been a city commissioner since 2007.

Ayoub, along with the winner of his commission seat in the Nov. 6 election, will be sworn in at a City Commission meeting in January.

As mayor, Ayoub said, he wants to make sure that commissioners continue their respectful attitudes toward each other — something that hasn't always been present in Safety Harbor.

He said he also wants to work on getting commission consensus on big issues before moving forward.

Examples of big issues he mentioned are development of the city's new bayfront parkland and how the city should spend its revenue.

Diane Steinle can be reached at (727) 445-4152 or

Safety Harbor mayoral candidate unopposed, so wins automatically 07/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 27, 2012 7:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. With successful jewelry line, Durant High alum Carley Ochs enjoys 'incredible ride'



    As a child Carley Ochs played dress up, draped in her grandmother's furs.

    Founder Carley Ochs poses for a portrait in her Ford Bronco at the Bourbon & Boweties warehouse in Brandon, Fla. on September 19, 2017. Ochs is a Durant High and Florida State University graduate.
  2. Photo of the Day for September 20, 2017 - Where did Mom go?

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Stan Wooldridge of Temple Terrace, FL.

  3. Video: Maddon, in return to Trop, says Rays need new stadium

    The Heater

    Former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, now with the Chicago Cubs, speaks about the need to replace Tropicana Field during the first game of a two-game series in St. Petersburg on Sept. 20, 2017.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) watches the action in the second inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  4. Video shows massive sinkhole that swallowed Apopka home and may grow larger

    Public Safety

    APOPKA — A home near Orlando was partially swallowed by a massive sinkhole Tuesday morning that may grow even larger, officials said.

    A home at 222 West Kelly Park Road in Apopka, Fla., is being swallowed by a sinkhole on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Kat Kennedy says crews responded Tuesday morning, shortly after the Apopka house began sinking. [Stephen M. Dowell | Orlando Sentinel via AP]
  5. Daniel Ruth: Public money built Bucs' stadium, so let public sell tickets


    Who knew the Tampa Bay Bucs were actually the Daisies of Dale Mabry?

    Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, wants to do what it takes to ensure that those sitting in the lower bowl of Raymond James Stadium are wearing his team's colors. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]