Sunday, April 22, 2018
Politics

Charlie Justice won't run for Young's seat, Libertarian Lucas Overby will

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice said Friday he will not be a candidate for the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young's congressional seat.

Justice, a Democrat who has spent just under a year on the Commission, thanked supporters in an email and said no thanks.

"If this was six years ago or six years from now, I might have a different answer but today I have to say no. The time is simply not right for me and my family," he wrote.

Three years ago, then-state Sen. Justice ran against Young and lost. This week, Justice was one of a handful of elected officials and candidates that Beverly Young, the congressman's widow, asked not to attend his funeral.

Meanwhile, Lucas Overby, a Libertarian who announced his candidacy several months ago, said he will run in the special election to succeed Young.

Overby, 27, has been running in Congressional District 13 since February. He was aiming toward the November 2014 election, but Young's death means there will be a special election earlier.

A commercial diver from Clearwater, Overby said he's heard from many who feel "our voice isn't being heard anymore." Congress seems to "kick the can down the road," without actually tackling meaningful issues.

He says he'd focus on tax reform to make the system simpler and fairer; work to reduce corporate subsidies to big industries such as agriculture, oil and auto; and look for more efficient methods of military contracting.

Among Democrats, lawyer Jessica Ehrlich, who ran against Young unsuccessfully in 2012, is running again. Former gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink has expressed interest in the seat, as has Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long.

Among Republicans considered potential candidates: former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, former state Rep. Larry Crow, Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel, former County Commissioner Neil Brickfield, former Young general counsel and personal attorney David Jolly, campaign consultant Nick Zoller, former U.S. Senate candidate Sonya March, publisher Michael Pinson, Young's son, Bill Young II and Young's brother, Tom.

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