WESLEY CHAPEL — Former state Rep. Ken Littlefield is aiming for a political comeback, filing to run for Pasco County Commission to replace outgoing Commissioner Pat Mulieri, who is retiring this year after 20 years in office.
Littlefield, who served in the Florida House from 1999 to 2006, narrowly lost to Mulieri in the Republican primary four years ago and now faces a three-way primary with candidates Mike Moore and Bob Robertson jumping in last summer.
"I miss making the rules," said Littlefield, who filed election papers Thursday and now works at Dade City-based Hodges Family Funeral Home. "I think the protection needs to be there, someone with good conservative principles."
Littlefield once enjoyed a promising political career. He served in the state House until then-Gov. Jeb Bush nominated him to the Florida Public Service Commission overseeing utilities. But then incoming-Gov. Charlie Crist pulled Littlefield's nomination explaining he wanted someone more "consumer-oriented."
Littlefield found another job soon after. He was hired in 2007 as executive director of the Statewide Advocacy Council, where he remained until his retirement in 2010.
Littlefield, 69, said he still has a taste for politics. Asked why he's running, he replied: "The same reason I ran the first time: I like to make policy."
Littlefield won't face an incumbent this time around but two candidates making their first bid for County Commission: Moore, a business broker and president of the Wesley Chapel Republican Club; and Robertson, a financial planner who serves on Pasco's Restore Act Advisory Committee.
Moore, in particular, has benefitted from getting a head start the past few months, fattening his campaign coffers — he's raised close to $40,000 since July — and piling up endorsements from Sheriff Chris Nocco and Commission Chairman Jack Mariano to his most recent: U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis.
The Bilirakis endorsement came on the heels of Littlefield's election filing.
Robertson, meanwhile, is showing his face around the county, popping up at just about every County Commission meeting and recently enrolling in the county's Citizen Academy. The academy, which kicked off last week, educates residents about county government by giving them a glimpse into its inner-workings.
Robertson has raised about $10,000.
Littlefield said he's still firming up his positions and will make those clear in the months ahead. One idea he's already mulling: He thinks county commissioners should have term limits.
"Seemingly, once they get in there, they stay there," he said. "I would be interested in bringing that issue up."
The primary is Aug. 26.
Rich Shopes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6236.