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NOVICE IN POLITICS JOINS RACE FOR SHERIFF

The former Marine and mechanic becomes the third to run for the job.

Bobby Kinzy is a self-described "common man" who believes there's a lack of leadership when it comes to fighting crime in Pasco County.

That's why he wants to be your next sheriff.

"It just seems like everything you hear out of the sheriff's department is negative," he said Tuesday. "And I think that needs to be changed."

Kinzy filed papers recently to challenge Sheriff Bob White, who is seeking a third term, in an increasingly crowded field. Kinzy will first face Kim Bogart, a former sheriff's captain, in the Democratic primary. White is challenged by retired Lt. Robert Sullivan on the Republican side.

Kinzy, 60, has no experience in law enforcement. He did a tour in the Marine Corps, then worked for 35 years as a mechanic for Tampa Electric. He retired in 2004.

He'll tell you he's no politician. He thinks his unattached, outsider's position is a strength.

"I don't have any scars," he said. "I don't have friends to take care of. I don't have enemies to remove."

He is tired of what he calls White's "ambush philosophy," citing how the sheriff fired several top commanders when he took office in 2001 and asked for multimillion-dollar budget increases each of the last two years.

"To me, that's just insanity," he said.

If elected, Kinzy said, he would impanel a citizen's advisory group to offer feedback about crime problems in all areas of the county and make recommendations.

He also wants to increase deputies' interaction with Pasco children at schools and community events to rebuild their trust in law enforcement.

Doing so, he said, would improve the drug and gang problems in the county.

For now, his campaign headquarters is a small table with a lamp and a couple of notepads inside his spacious workshop. He lives with his wife, Mary, on about 4 acres in a house he built in 1975, when the nearest neighbor was 2 miles away.

Kinzy, who wears all denim and speaks with a Florida native's twang, is an outdoorsman at heart. He loves hunting and fishing and escaping to the mountains in his motor home. He also holds a fourth-degree black belt in karate.

He has a high school diploma and a few credit hours from Pasco-Hernando Community College.

"I'm just a guy that you'd run into on the corner," he said.

That image dovetails with his plan for fundraising, an aspect of the race where he is already behind.

Bogart has more than $12,000, but $10,000 of that is a loan to himself, according to campaign finance reports.

White has raised more than $43,000.

Kinzy thinks he can fund his campaign through $10, $50 and $100 donations from people he meets face to face.

He plans to print fliers soon and hand them out personally rather than mail them. "I think it'll work good because that's what the people of Pasco County are after," he said.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

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