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  1. Florida Politics

Candidate qualifying period begins for Tarpon Springs' March election

TARPON SPRINGS — Another election season is already gearing up.

With Tuesday's start to the qualifying period for March's Tarpon Springs city election,, candidates are jockeying for open positions on the City Commission: the mayor's seat and two commission seats.

Mayor David Archie has announced that he intends to run for re-election. So, too, has Commissioner Jeff Larsen in Seat 3. If they are unopposed, they will retain their seats.

But a fight could be shaping up for Seat 4, where Commissioner Chris Alahouzos has reached his two-term limit. Three people have expressed interest in that office.

David Banther, 29, serves on the city's Budget Advisory Committee. He also has been on the city's Historic Preservation Board. He works as a daily money manager at his family's consulting firm and is a member of the local Rotary Club.

Thomas Frain, 22, created the local Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability, a group that has campaigned for a citizen review board of the Police Department. A recent graduate of the University of South Florida, he is a server at Miss Vicki's on the River in Holiday.

Timothy Keffalas, 58, lost a previous commission bid to incumbent Commissioner Susan Slattery, who secured her second term in 2011. Keffalas is the former executive director of the Tarpon Springs Housing Authority.

To qualify, candidates must file 25 petition cards from voters, fill out paperwork and pay fees. The qualifying period runs through Nov. 28, but the city clerk's office will close Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.

Keffalas submitted all his qualifying documents to the city clerk's office early Tuesday. Banther has turned in his petitions and said he plans to soon complete the process. Frain said he has collected the necessary petitions and will finish his forms within the week.

All races are nonpartisan. Winners of the March 12 election will serve three-year terms. The mayor earns a $13,000 city salary annually. Commissioners make $8,000.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or