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Ex-wrestler takes new run at County Commission seat

Published Sep. 2, 2005

Former wrestler and Gold's Gym owner Brian Blair will make another run at the Hillsborough County Commission in 2004, a decision he will announce today.

Blair will make his announcement at 12:30 p.m. today on the steps of the old Federal District Court building.

Recently, Blair has been leading a small campaign to have the Tampa Bay History Center moved to the courthouse, rather than use tax money to build a new building for it. History Center officials are not keen on the idea, but Blair says it makes sense to use one of Tampa's historic buildings for such a purpose.

Blair, a Republican, is seeking the at-large District 6 seat that will be vacated by Democrat Jan Platt. He formally filed for the seat Monday.

Platt must leave the seat due to term limits.

"I have worked hard all my life," Blair said in a release. "I've learned from experiences in life and, along with my faith, I have found a way to seek positive solutions."

Blair challenged Democrat Pat Frank last year for the at-large District 7 seat and made a strong showing, losing by less than a percentage point in his first-ever run for public office. A former wrestler in the tag-team duo the Killer Bees, Blair tapped his athlete friends for advertisements, including wrestler Hulk Hogan and former baseball player Wade Boggs, and attacked Frank as not being the fiscal conservative she claims.

He was also stung by newspaper reports of a past domestic abuse claim by an ex-girlfriend that was never prosecuted.

After the election, Blair was appointed to the county's Citizen's Advisory Committee by new commissioner Ken Hagan, who also hired one of Blair's campaign aides.

WHAT'S A NONJOINER TO DO: When someone registers to vote, they sometimes don't want to be registered to any particular political party. But it's getting harder all the time to maintain political independence.

The joke in the past has been that people intending to avoid party politics would sign up as "independent." That has such a nice, patriotic ring to it.

The only problem is, there is a an "Independent Party." So they would end up members of a political organization anyway.

This may account for some of the 13,746 Independent Party members registered in Hillsborough County. Complicating things further, there is an Independence Party too, with 563 members.

If you're realllllly not a joiner, what should you do?

The answer has always been that you must register under the far less inspiring, far more bureaucratic category of "no affiliation."

That worked pretty well, but now there's yet another twist.

Checking Hillsborough's voter registration rolls, you will find that 10 voters are registered members of the "No Political Affiliation Party of Florida." Yes, it exists. Headquarters are Marco Island.

_ Political Junkie is an occasional column on the election season. Got a tip? Bill Varian can be reached at 226-3387 or Times staff writer Morris Kennedy contributed to this report.