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Rice makes it official, files for Pinellas sheriff

Former sheriff Everett Rice filed his paperwork Wednesday to run for his old job in Pinellas County, joining current Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bob Gualtieri in the race. Gualtieri joined as Sheriff Jim Coats -- Rice's annointed successor -- announced he won't seek another term in the 2012 election.

The jousting and their side effects are taking lots of people by surprise as they look at their own races. For example, State Attorney Bernie McCabe, a friend of he's running for re-election -- one reason not to choose sides in the upcoming sheriff's tilt.

Besides Coats' news on stepping aside in 2012, Coats also said he'd be interested in a county job or place in government in Clearwater, where he lives.

Coats also happens to live in County Commissioner Karen Seel's district, who stands to be on the 2012 ballot. A less heralded opponent, Robert Avery, already has filed. Asked if Coats had mentioned any of his county government interest to her, Seel's eyes bugged.

"Nope," she said.

Alas, she reached Coats later, and reported back that he has no intentions of opposing her.

Posted by David DeCamp at 5:50:48 pm on May 18, 2011