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Pinellas voted on school board, county commission. Here’s where things stand.

Two Pinellas School Board races were settled in the primary; two are headed to a November runoff.
Businessman Brian Scott, left, won the Republican primary for Pinellas County Commission District 2 on Tuesday. He will face incumbent Democrat Pat Gerard in the general election Nov. 8.
Businessman Brian Scott, left, won the Republican primary for Pinellas County Commission District 2 on Tuesday. He will face incumbent Democrat Pat Gerard in the general election Nov. 8. [ handouts ]
Published Aug. 24|Updated Aug. 24

Businessman Brian Scott won the Pinellas County Commission District 2 Republican primary on Tuesday and now will try to defeat incumbent Pat Gerard in the fall and flip the board’s slim Democratic majority.

Republican Dave Eggers will return for another term on the County Commission. The incumbents running for Pinellas County School Board also won easily, while two open seats on that non-partisan board will go to a runoff in the November general election.

Scott, owner of Escot Bus Lines, won about 66.2% of the vote against Debbie Buschman, a Palm Harbor Special Fire Control & Rescue Commissioner, with all precincts reporting. Gerard did not face a Democratic primary challenger in her race for a third term.

Scott, 54, a first-time candidate, greatly outmatched Buschman, 53, in fundraising, with $169,878 in contributions to her $26,216. Scott raised another $58,700 through a political committee.

In his campaign, Scott positioned himself as the candidate who could beat Gerard in the general election and flip the partisan makeup to Republican for the first time since 2014.

“I’m a business owner. I have real world, day-to-day understanding of the pressures of owning a business, and as I talked to voters that’s what I heard resonated the most,” Scott said Tuesday evening.

Eggers won a third term in office by beating Republican challenger Heather Aynne Vernillo with 67.7% of ballots cast. Because there was no Democrat in the race, all residents in the northern Pinellas district were eligible to vote regardless of party.

Eggers, 65, raised significantly more money than Vernillo, 42, with $76,143 in contributions to her $9,539. Eggers raised another $10,000 through a political committee.

Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers, District 4.
Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers, District 4. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

The Pinellas School Board had four seats up for election, with two of the races settled in the primary and two headed to a November runoff.

Incumbent School Board members Lisa Cane and Caprice Edmond both defended their seats against challengers with conservative viewpoints.

For the Pinellas County School Board's District 7 seat, Maria Solanki, left, challenged incumbent Caprice Edmond.
For the Pinellas County School Board's District 7 seat, Maria Solanki, left, challenged incumbent Caprice Edmond. [ Courtesy of the candidates ]

Edmond, 34, now finishing her first term in office representing southern Pinellas’ District 7, was well ahead of challenger Maria DiFiore Solanki, 37, with almost a 2-to-1 lead after most votes were counted.

“I’m feeling good, feeling great,” Edmond said. She said she was not surprised by the results because “the people of Pinellas County wanted effective leadership and experienced leadership.”

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From left, Brad DeCorte, incumbent Lisa Cane and Bronson Oudshoff competed in Tuesday's primary to represent District 2 on the Pinellas County School Board.
From left, Brad DeCorte, incumbent Lisa Cane and Bronson Oudshoff competed in Tuesday's primary to represent District 2 on the Pinellas County School Board. [ Courtesy of Pinellas County Schools, Brad DeCorte, Bronson Oudshoff ]

The race was closer in the three-way contest for countywide District 2. But Cane, 35, appeared to have a large enough majority to avoid a runoff.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Cane said. “The people of Pinellas County, they came through. My husband and I are elated.”

The incumbent faced challenges from both sides of the political spectrum: Bronson Oudshoff, 44, who embraced Gov. Ron DeSantis’ positions on LGBTQ issues and racial topics; and Brad DeCorte, 65, a longtime educator who campaigned for better treatment of teachers and more equity in the school system.

The 2022 candidates for the Pinellas County School Board District 3 seat were, from left: Keesha Benson, Dawn Peters and Carl Zimmermann.
The 2022 candidates for the Pinellas County School Board District 3 seat were, from left: Keesha Benson, Dawn Peters and Carl Zimmermann. [ Courtesy of the candidates ]

In District 3, which is also countywide, three candidates competed to replace Nicole Carr, who is leaving after one term. They were: Keesha Benson, 41, a leader of community social organizations; Dawn Peters, 48, an active school volunteer; and Carl Zimmermann, 71, a retired educator. With no one receiving a majority, Benson and Peters will head to a November runoff as the top two vote getters.

The 2022 candidates for the Pinellas County School Board District 6 seat were, from left: Brian Martin, Stephanie Meyer and Kim Works.
The 2022 candidates for the Pinellas County School Board District 6 seat were, from left: Brian Martin, Stephanie Meyer and Kim Works. [ Courtesy of the candidates ]

In eastern Pinellas’ District 6, where School Board member Bill Dudley is retiring, there were also three candidates: Brian Martin, 37, a chemical engineer; Stephanie Meyer, 40, a teacher at a private Christian school and adjunct instructor at Hillsborough Community College; and Kimberly Works, 51, an active school and district-level volunteer. That race also is headed to a runoff, with Meyer logging in just under 50% and Martin collecting about 40% of the vote.

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