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Several interested in replacing Phyllis Busansky as Hillsborough elections supervisor

TAMPA — The field to replace Phyllis Busansky as Hillsborough County's Supervisor of Elections is expected to get crowded.

A day after Busansky was found dead, several people have said they plan to apply for the $132,000-a-year elections job.

Gov. Charlie Crist is required by Florida law to appoint a replacement who would serve until the next general election in November 2010. So far, no applications have been received, said Crist's spokesman, Sterling Ivey.

Busansky's chief of staff, Craig Latimer, will apply for the job, said Sigrid Tidmore, a spokeswoman for the elections office. Out of respect for the Busansky family, Latimer is declining interview requests, Tidmore said. So many people have called asking Latimer to apply and continue what Busansky was trying to accomplish that he decided Wednesday to officially declare his intent, she said.

Latimer's background includes 35 years in law enforcement. He retired as a major in the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office to manage Busansky's election campaign.

Also on Wednesday, former Tampa Tribune editorial page editor Rosemary Goudreau said she will apply for the interim supervisor of elections post.

"Phyllis Busansky and I were good friends," Goudreau said. "We shared a common sense and purpose about how to engage citizens in our democracy. My whole career has been about citizen engagement."

Goudreau, 53, is an independent and was the Tribune's editorial page editor from 2003 until 2008, when she was laid off. Before joining the Tribune, Goudreau was managing editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Many of the 17 people who sought the office in 2003, when Buddy Johnson was appointed, are considering another try.

Janet Dougherty, a Republican and an environmental consultant, and Mark Proctor, a Republican political consultant, said they would likely apply. Joe Chillura, a Republican and former Hillsborough County commissioner, said he wouldn't rule out a try, as did Mark Cox, another Republican and chief of investigations for Hillsborough's State Attorney's Office.

"I'm certainly contemplating it again," said Cox, 52. "But out of respect for Ms. Busansky's family, I'm not going to say anything more than that."

A memorial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday for Busansky at Schaarai Zedek, a synagogue on 3303 W Swann Ave.

Several interested in replacing Phyllis Busansky as Hillsborough elections supervisor 06/24/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 27, 2009 1:01pm]
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