TAMPA — Hillsborough County's sheriff and clerk of the circuit court won new terms in office Friday when the qualifying deadline for candidates passed without anyone challenging them.
Sheriff David Gee, a Republican, and Clerk of the Circuit Court Pat Frank, a Democrat, tipped their hats to their staffs when discussing their wins, saying smooth-running offices kept opposition at bay.
"Customer service defines how you run an office. I know what the employees do, but this is a verification of that," said Frank, who is finishing her first term in the position.
Four members of the state House of Representatives with seats covering parts of Hillsborough also won re-election with no opposition.
Meanwhile, the District 6 County Commission race appears to be a brawl in the making, with Republican incumbent Brian Blair drawing four opponents.
Blair will face Republican Don Kruse, a car sales manager, in the primary. Democrats Joe Redner, best known as the owner of the Mons Venus strip club; Kevin Beckner, a financial planner; and longtime community activist Denise Layne are also seeking the post.
Beckner contrasted himself with his primary opponents as someone who can bring new eyes to the commission and who has the financial background needed for these trying times.
"I offer a fresh voice," he said. "I'm not in the thick of the forest. I'm on the outside of the forest."
Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson, a Republican, will face Democrat Phyllis Busansky.
Busansky, a former Hillsborough County commissioner, is playing up her management experience in her challenge to Johnson. She has a master's in management from Brandeis University.
"One of the critical issues for the Supervisor of Elections is to be a good manager," she said. "That's what it's all about — management and quality control."
The state House members declared victors Friday were all Republicans: Rich Glorioso in District 62, which includes Plant City; Seth McKeel, in the District 63 seat representing part of southeast Hillsborough; Bill Galvano in District 68 representing the southwestern corner of the county; and Will Weatherford, who holds the District 61 seat that includes a northern slice of the county.
Two Hillsborough School Board members face serious competitors for re-election.
Carol Kurdell drew two challengers as she seeks a fifth term on the board. Her opponents in a countywide race are Stephen Gorham, who in 2006 lost a race for a state Senate seat to Ronda Storms, and Jason Mims, an advocate for minority male students.
Incumbent Susan Valdes is squaring off against Dave Schmidt, an adult education program manager for the school district.
School Board members Jack Lamb and Doretha Edgecomb sailed to re-election after no one challenged them.
Bill Varian and Letitia Stein contributed to this report. Janet Zink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3401.