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Dunedin will skip March election

There won't be any campaigning in Dunedin: no signs, no mailings, no door-to-door polling.

By the end of the qualifying period at noon Friday, no one besides the incumbents had qualified for the March election, which means Commissioners Bob Hackworth and Deborah Kynes will each automatically serve another three-year term.

"Nobody has qualified other than the two incumbents," said City Clerk Jerie Guegan. "I've been researching all the requirements to make sure there was nothing that would allow someone to come in after qualifying."

There was none, Guegan said, which means Hackworth and Kynes will be sworn in and resume their seats on the dais. Both of them had been ready to campaign.

"Hopefully it was at least a tacit vote of confidence, for which I'm truly grateful and humbled," Kynes said. "I am most appreciative to have the opportunity to serve another term."

Hackworth, who owns an educational publishing company, said he won't miss the stress and anxiety that come with a campaign, but he will miss connecting with voters.

He said he may do a constituent survey to hear from residents.

"I do think that the process suffers when there's not an election because we don't go out and talk to people," he said. "We don't defend and justify what we've done and proclaim what we intend to do."

Dunedin is the second city in Pinellas County to forgo the March election. Mayor Frank Hibbard and council members Hoyt Hamilton and John Doran were elected in Clearwater without opposition.