Deborah Clark handily defeats opponent despite another election day mishap

Published Nov. 7, 2012

Deborah Clark won a fourth term Tuesday as Pinellas County's Supervisor of Elections, handily defeating her opponent, Jack Killingsworth, with nearly 76 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Clark won re-election despite Killingsworth's efforts to highlight a series of election-related mishaps that have occurred under her leadership. The string of errors was punctuated by another mistake Tuesday morning when more than 12,000 Pinellas County voters received automated phone calls telling them the incorrect deadline to submit their absentee ballots.

The calls, which told voters they had until 7 p.m. Wednesday, elicited a barrage of criticisms toward Clark, including one from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn who called on Clark to be "fired" in the next election cycle.

The victory was a boost for Clark, 63, who was battling a cold Tuesday in addition to the bad publicity.

"I'm very pleased," Clark said in between hacking coughs. "I'm proud of the track record. I have an incredible staff. The citizens of Pinellas County have a wonderful group of people working for them."

Killingsworth, 78, a registered Democrat who ran against Clark four years ago, did not return calls for comment late Tuesday. A retired electrical engineer, he touted his technological expertise in his campaign.

He ran with no party affiliation and poured more than $26,000 of his own money into his campaign. He ran a non-traditional campaign, relying predominantly on mailers and a shoe leather volunteer effort to get his message out.

Times staff writer Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report.