NEW PORT RICHEY — County Commissioner Henry Wilson Jr. didn't waste time deciding whether to run for office again.
The District 4 Republican became the first to submit candidacy papers for next year's County Commission race. Wilson filed his papers Monday. As of noon Friday, no other candidate had filed to run for the five-member commission.
Wilson might soon have company, though. His Democratic rival two years ago, former Commissioner Michael Cox, said he's leaning toward running again and called Wilson "lacking in his abilities."
Cox said he's in no hurry to decide but is giving the matter "serious consideration."
In addition to Wilson's seat, the District 2 seat is up for election after longtime Commissioner Pat Mulieri opted to not seek a sixth term.
Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said it's not unusual for candidates to announce their candidacy more than a year in advance. The filing deadline is in June 2014.
"The trend for candidates, for incumbents or first-time candidates, is to file earlier to help generate signatures or to raise funds," Corley said.
By submitting petitions of more than 3,000 registered voters' signatures, commission candidates can avoid the $4,800 filing fee. And by declaring and announcing a campaign treasurer, candidates can start to raise campaign funds.
Rich Shopes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6236.