Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No head-to-head clashes for Nancy Bostock, Charlie Justice in Pinellas commission race

Less than two months away from the Nov. 6 general election, the only certainty in the race for District 3 on the Pinellas County Commission is that incumbent Nancy Bostock has more money.

Her opponent, Charlie Justice, is a known entity in Pinellas. He served three terms in the state House and another one in the Florida Senate. And the St. Petersburg resident has run successful campaigns that pulled in thousands of dollars from donors in Tampa Bay and in Tallahassee.

But Justice, who estimated he has raised about $10,000 in the last several weeks, said he is finding it harder to get donors to write large checks for a county race, especially in a poor economy. As of Sept. 14, he had pulled in about $27,000.

Bostock, 44, who began accepting checks for her campaign almost a year ago, said she has nearly $50,000.

The difference is obvious to anyone driving the county's roads, which are littered with Bostock's plain blue and white signs and rarely sprout Justice's.

Justice, 44, said the money gap doesn't trouble him. He has three more fundraisers scheduled before the election.

"I'd say let's vote today," he said, adding that a poll done by the county's Democratic Party in spring showed that he had solid name recognition in the southern part of Pinellas County. Bostock, a Republican from Treasure Island, is better known in the north.

Unlike the race for the commission's District 1 seat, which ignited last week over the Democratic candidate's accusation that firefighter unions have used the Sept. 11 attacks for their gain, the District 3 race has been a quiet one.

So quiet, it is like a study of what happens when two naturally cautious, policy wonks enter a boxing ring. There is a lot of circling, very little hitting.

There are no bristling news releases, no public denunciations, and certainly no yelling on television, a market that is prohibitively expensive for most County Commission candidates.

Instead, both candidates are relying on direct mail, door-to-door talks with potential voters, and events held by neighborhood associations and chambers of commerce.

Bostock, who served on the county's School Board for years and has successfully weathered multiple campaigns, said she was surprised at how infrequently she bumps into Justice on the campaign trail.

In 2008, when she ran for the commission against Rene Flowers, a former St. Petersburg City Council member, the women appeared at many of the same events, she said.

"Typically by these last weeks of the campaign and, I say this in a friendly way, the core group of candidates, they spend more time with each other than they do with their own spouses, there's that sense of camaraderie," she said. "That's been absent this time and it's strange."

"Charlie Justice as far as I'm concerned is close to a zero-level campaign," said Todd Pressman, a longtime Republican political consultant who is supporting Bostock.

Former Pinellas Democratic Party chairman Ramsay McLauchlan dismissed this idea.

"In Charlie's case, he's doing a lot of grass roots stuff, which tends to have an impact on voters but isn't as visible to the press or the public in general," he said.

"The question is what is Charlie going to have as of Oct. 1. If he has $50,000, you can do a lot."

Justice would not discuss his fundraising goals or campaign strategy. He is focusing on "raising our name ID in the northern part of the county as well as solidifying it in the south." And he is handing out more signs, he said.

Like Janet Long, the Democratic candidate for District 1, Justice's campaign has received a boost from Pinellas dentists, many of whom are irate over the commission's 4-3 vote last year to stop adding fluoride to the drinking water. Bostock voted with the majority; Justice has promised to bring back fluoridation as one of the first acts of his tenure. In conversations and speeches, he routinely says that Bostock's record, particularly on fluoride, is too conservative for a commission that has historically been dominated by moderate Republicans.

In public, Bostock's approach has been to focus on the area's economy and on keeping taxes low.

Anna M. Phillips can be reached at

Election fast facts

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 general election is Oct. 9.

To schedule a voter registration event at your workplace or organization, call (727) 464-8683.

Mail ballots are scheduled to go out Oct. 2. Request one at or call the number above.

No head-to-head clashes for Nancy Bostock, Charlie Justice in Pinellas commission race 09/18/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:20am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tuesday's Nothing More concert moved from the State Theatre to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg


    Nothing More was one of the highlights of April's 98 Rockfest, a thoroughly entertaining rock outfit with a larger-than-live stage presence.

    Nothing More performed at 98 Rockfest 2017 in Tampa.
  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Turning Point, Week 3: Overreaction vs. reality


    "None of us really know how this group of 53 guys is going to come together and how we're going to play this season."

    Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs torched a porous Bucs secondary Sunday with eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. [Getty Images]
  3. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO


    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Roger Berdusco is stepping down as CEO at Triad Retail Media to pursue other opportunities. [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  4. What to watch this week: Fall TV kicks off with 'Will & Grace,' 'Young Sheldon,' return of 'This Is Us'


    September temperatures are still creeping into the 90s, but fall officially started a few days ago. And with that designation comes the avalanche of new and returning TV shows. The Big Bang Theory fans get a double dose of Sheldon Cooper's nerdisms with the return of the titular series for an eleventh season and …

    Sean Hayes, Debra Messing and Megan Mullally in Will & Grace.
  5. Eight refueling jets from Arkansas, 250 people heading to new home at MacDill


    TAMPA — The number of KC-135 refueling jets at MacDill Air Force Base will grow from 18 to 24 with the return of a squadron that once called Tampa home.

    A KC-135 Stratotanker, a military aerial refueling jet, undergoes maintenance at MacDill Air Force Base. The planes, many flying since the late 1950s, are now being flown more than twice as much as scheduled because of ongoing foreign conflicts. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]