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Dade City Commission incumbents choose not to run again

Plus, Port Richey mayor unopposed and other Pasco municipal election news.
The fields are set for the April municipal elections in Pasco County. Times (2012) [Tampa Tribune]

DADE CITY — Longtime Dade City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Eunice Penix has opted not to seek re-election, ending a decades-long run serving on the commission.

Penix has served on the commission since being appointed to her seat in 1993. Her departure opens the door to two new candidates —– Christopher King and Normita Woodard — as qualifying ended Tuesday for municipal elections in Pasco County.

Dade City City Commissioner Eunice Penix is not seeking re-election to the seat she has held since 1993. [Times] [SCOTT ISKOWITZ | Tampa Bay Times]

Woodard is a secretary at Lacoochee Elementary School. King initially filed last year to run for the Pasco County Commission, but withdrew his candidacy two days later, saying he wanted to focus on city government issues.

Meanwhile, another Dade City Commission incumbent, Nicole Deese Newlon, also declined to seek re-election to her Group 4 seat, which she won in 2016. Newlon, an attorney, filed pre-qualification papers Feb. 6, but withdrew her candidacy Monday. Attorney Knute Nathe and Ann Cosentino will face off to fill Newlon’s spot.

One Dade City incumbent has thrown his hat in the ring again for the Group 3 seat. Commissioner Jim Shive, who has held office since 2012, will be opposed by Matthew Wilson.

Shive already has been an aggressive fund-raiser. He has $5,000 in his campaign treasury, including $1,000 donations from building contractor Gordon R. Larkin and from JDR Properties of Pasco, owners of the Dade City Business Center and a planned refurbished industrial site in Lacoochee.

Zephyrhills will have a mayoral race, with Gene Whitfield, who has been mayor since 2014, challenged by Justin Docherty. Meanwhile, incumbent Zephyrhills City Council member W. Alan Knight held his seat unopposed.

It will be a crowded field in San Antonio as five candidates are seeking three seats. The top three vote-getters win the spots on the commission. Two incumbents — Elayne Bassinger and Sarah Schrader — are running against challengers Joseph Couture, John Vogel II and Dacia Wadsworth Mitchell.

In the town of St. Leo, commission incumbents Donna DeWitt, James Hallet and Richard Christmas won unopposed.

Related: With re-election, mayor wants to continue progress

In west Pasco, Mayor Rob Marlowe won a third term unopposed in New Port Richey, while Port Richey Mayor Scott Tremblay also won unopposed after winning a special election in June 2019 following the arrest and resignation of former mayor Dale Massad.

Related: Votes are in, Mayor Scott Tremblay to replace ex-mayor Dale Massad

All city elections are non-partisan. Election Day is April 14.

Times Staff Writer C.T. Bowen contributed to this report.