Gov. Rick Scott appointed real estate investor and former Redington Shores Mayor Jay Beyrouti to the Pinellas County Commission on Friday, filling the vacancy opened when Commissioner John Morroni died of cancer in May.
In a short news release, the Governor's Office touted Beyrouti as a small business owner with a degree in accounting and international business. He served as chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee for four years, stepping down after the 2012 election cycle. He is an Enterprise Florida and Space Florida board member and ran unsuccessfully for County Commission in 2004.
Beyrouti, 66, of Redington Shores, will only remain on the commission until this fall, when Morroni's term would have ended. Three Republicans and one Democrat are vying for the seat, and it's too late for Beyrouti to qualify as a candidate.
Republicans state Reps. Larry Ahern of Seminole and Kathleen Peters of South Pasadena, and Barb Haselden, a St. Petersburg resident will face off in the Aug. 28 primary. The winner will take on Democrat Amy Kedron, a former college professor from Madeira Beach, in the Nov. 6 election.
Morroni, a Treasure Island Republican, spent eight years in the Florida House before holding the District 6 Commission seat since 2000.
After his death, those who knew Morroni spoke of him in reverence. Morroni was a mentor to aspiring politicians and founded an annual dinner that benefits first responders. This year's dinner, the event's 23rd and Morroni's last, raised more than $80,000.
His final 10 years were scarred by cancer. He died May 20 of leukemia, an effect of treatment he underwent for secondary myelodysplastic syndrome in 2016. He was treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2008. His cancer returned in 2011 but was successfully treated. He was 63.
Beyrouti begins his term Friday.