Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando Commissioner Jeff Stabins is leaving GOP and won't seek re-election

BROOKSVILLE — After a lifetime as a registered Republican, county Commissioner Jeff Stabins dropped out of the party Tuesday and announced for a second time that he would not seek a third term on the commission.

In his letter to the elections office confirming he was not going to run, Stabins said his candidacy for the District 1 commission seat was to end "effective immediately and this time I mean it.''

Stabins, 52, said he was ready for a break.

"I dropped my party affiliation and will serve out the rest of my term and take a sabbatical from Hernando County politics and to write my dog's memoirs,'' he said, referring to his Labrador Rusty, which for a time "wrote" a blog that mirrored activities in local politics.

Stabins said he grew apart from the philosophy of the Republican Party and wasn't going to become a Democrat, opting for no party designation.

"For a long time, I was discouraged and disillusioned by the leadership of the Republican Party moving more and more to the right-wing fringe and I think it's a shame,'' he said. "I think the leadership in Washington and Tallahassee and Brooksville is doing their darnedest to destroy the Grand Old Party and I'm sick and tired of being a part of it.''

A retired schoolteacher, Stabins said, "I've always been a student of history and the Republicans have never been more out of touch with the American people on a myriad of issues from taxation to social issues.''

Democrats have issues, too, he said, adding: "Both parties have become polarized, but ours is worse.''

Stabins first started campaigning for a third four-year term in January 2011 and began collecting signature cards. Then, that April, he announced he was dropping out of the race, saying he was tired of "tilting at windmills" and that he felt he was not making headway on issues.

He announced he was exploring a run for a congressional seat in upstate New York, where he had bought a summer home. But he decided to drop that bid and again announced plans to run for another term in Hernando.

Candidates have piled up to run for the seat, and Stabins said Tuesday he had no intention of endorsing any of them. Having no party affiliation, he will not be able to vote in partisan races in the August primary.

Stabins said he will leave it to others to determine what his legacy as a county commissioner will be.

"I'm very grateful for the support I've gotten from 90 percent of the people in the county. It's the 10 percent or less that just wore me down. I'm tired of dealing with their bulls---,'' he said. "I've done my best. It's been a job. I've been teaching and politicking for 25 years straight in this county, and I need a break.''

The field of prequalified candidates for the District 1 seat now includes four Republicans — Michael Burmann, Richard Matassa, Nicholas Nicholson and Regina Werder-McGuire — Democrat Arlene Glantz and Joseph Swilley, an independent.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando Commissioner Jeff Stabins is leaving GOP and won't seek re-election 05/08/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 8:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Early morning fire breaks out at Clearwater Beach motel


    Clearwater Fire and Rescue is at the scene of an early morning fire that broke out at a motel on Clearwater Beach.

  2. Florida education news: Free speech, Schools of Hope, student voices and more


    FREE SPEECH: The University of Florida reluctantly hosts white nationalist activist Richard Spencer for a rally officials are encouraging students to ignore. Campus president Kent Fuchs, who tried to prevent the activity from taking place, Troopers prepare for Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a State of Emergency for Alachua County ahead of the event.

  3. How old is too old to go trick-or-treating on Halloween?

    Human Interest

    Brandi Eatman guesses the boy was at least 15 years old.

     Costume accessories at House of Make Believe at 1055 N Hercules Ave. in Clearwater. [CHERIE DIEZ | Times]
  4. Report: West Pasco channel dredges could cost up to $13.5 million

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The cost of dredging a dozen coastal canals serving seven west Pasco communities could reach nearly $13.5 million, according to a consultant's report.

    WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
 A consultant recommends that Pasco County consider a dozen canal dredging projects in west Pasco's coastal communities at a cost that could reach nearly $13.5 million. [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times 2011]
  5. Records show Hernando Beach fire chiefs defrauded taxpayers of thousands

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — The three former chiefs of the defunct Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department, arrested in September, are collectively accused of defrauding the taxpayers of Hernando Beach, Aripeka and Forest Glenn of tens of thousands of dollars.

    David Freda, a former Hernando Beach fire chief, has been charged with organized fraud. He recently was fired as Brooksville’s fire chief.