We are teaming up with the Republican Liberty Caucus, Get Out Of Our House (GOOOH), the Florida-based Liberty Takeover 2012, and, most importantly, the buzz on the ground in our local Liberty movement to provide you with a definitive list of the best candidates to vote for in your local election on August 14th.
Short on time? Here is a printable, sharable candidate slate: Pinellas
Quick Hillsborough: Marielena Stuart, John Korsak, Rachel V. Burgin, Ronda Storms, Margaret Luculano, Johnnie B. Byrd, John Grant, Frances Maria Penone, Matt Lucas, Terry Temple, Paul Fosse, Susanne “Lea” Rashka
Usage tip: Press CTRL+F on your keyboard and type in the name of the candidate you are interested in. If you have any recommendations that aren’t listed here, please share them in the comments section.
U.S. Congress, District 13 (Pinellas County)
Darren Ayres v. C. W. Bill Young and Madeline Vance
I can tell you immediately that for those tired of the same ole’ stuff in Washington, our Congressman Bill Young is facing Republican primary candidate Darren Ayres. I’ve personally met Darren and he’s a good guy with his heart in the right place. He’s endorsed by Liberty Takeover, an organization dedicated to finding and endorsing Liberty candidates in Florida, and GOOOH, an organization dedicated to evicting career politicians from the U.S. House. Bill Young is 82 years old and is running for his 22nd term as a U.S. Congressman. He is the embodiment of the term “Washington Insider”. Congressman Young is also legendary for his ability to secure earmarks, i.e. funding for pet projects. Not something we need with federal debt levels at all-time highs with no signs of abating.
Further, Bill Young’s support of the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA provisions that empower the Federal Government to indefinitely detain American Citizens without charge, trial or access to a lawyer is simply unacceptable. Darren Ayres opposes the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA indefinite detention provisions, and therefore has the support of Liberty Tampa Bay.
U.S. Congress, District 14
Eddie Adams, Jr. v. Evelio “EJ” Otero
I didn’t have a recommendation in this race until I heard EJ speak at the Pinellas Republican Party Straw Poll. My impression was that EJ supports further growing the military budget (is that REALLY necessary?) and gave us relatively little on how he would reduce the size and scope of the Federal government. Meanwhile, Eddie Adams has Constitutional adherence as his number 1 belief. If the information on his website is any indication, he is a Liberty candidate, and has our enthusiastic recommendation.
State Senator, District 22 (Pinellas County)
Jeff Brandes v. Jim Frishe
We recommend Jeff Brandes for this open Senate seat. Jim Frishe has been in Florida politics for 40 years, supports the implementation of red light cameras and waffles on the light rail issue. Frishe also voted to take Obama’s stimulus money, and voted to raise taxes in numerous areas of the budget (gasoline taxes, more expensive license plates, higher cost for fishing licenses, etc.). Jeff Brandes isn’t perfect, but he’s clearly the better choice. Brandes is a relative newcomer to Pinellas County politics (elected to his first term in the Florida House in 2010), and has been on a bit of a liberty streak. He opposes red light cameras, is strongly against light rail, and voted with the Constitution against mandated drug tests for welfare recipients (government has no right to probe the content of the recipient’s blood without probable cause, see 4th Amendment). Frishe voted for the unconstitutional drug testing. For these reasons and more, we support Jeff Brandes in this primary battle.
State Senator, District 20 (Pinellas County)
Zahid Roy v. Jack Latvala
Zahid Roy is in another “David v. Goliath” race in this State Senate race. Latvala was elected in 2010 but already previously served 8 years in the Senate from 1994-2002. He has ridiculous amounts of fundraising prowess, and has the support and endorsement of virtually every establishment politician. Latval also, unfortunately, has no respect for the Liberty movement, as wonderfully illustrated at the end of this video;
“The main reason I agreed to come today (Tiger Bay Club) is because I knew this was one place I could come and give a speech and not have to deal with any tea party people… you haven’t let them infiltrate here yet; you can’t go to a Republican club and say that anymore.” — Senator Jack Latvala
I know we don’t all fully identify with the Tea Party, but to callously dismiss a legitimate movement focused on reducing the size and scope of government is not acceptable. It’s that kind of attitude that, if left unchecked, will continue the current broken system until it crashes and burns. Zahid is a Tea Party-endorsed candidate. He’s wet behind the ears, but at least he recognizes the big problems our State and Nation face, and he’s willing to face them head-on rather than gleefully rejoice when he doesn’t have to face tough questions. We recommend Zahid Roy for District 20 State Senator.
State Representative, District 37 (Pasco County)
Strother Hammond v. Richard Corcoran
Strother Hammond is David going up against some of the most ensconced powers in the GOP Establishment (Goliath). His opponent has hundreds of thousands in his campaign coffers, and he is endorsed by some of the biggest names in Florida politics. Corcoran, unfortunately, is involved in a mismanaged credit card scandal that is going to trial July 30th. He is on the wrong side of the Constitution in supporting drug testing without probable cause. Corcoran, in a point for him, did fight to repeal unconstitutional red light cameras. However, with Strother Hammond you get it all and without the baggage, and is a better overall candidate for the Liberty movement. He is a hard worker who does not answer to the Establishment, and has our full support.
State Representative, District 65 (Pinellas County)
Tory Perfetti v. Peter Nehr, Marg Baker and Philip Tropea
We recommend Tory Perfetti against incumbent Peter Nehr. Nehr ran as an “Independent” Republican in 2010 (see his flier and photo with Bill Nelson here), but his record is anything but. He has supported light rail, red light cameras, drug testing without probable cause, has voted for tax increases (gasoline taxes, more expensive license plates, higher cost for fishing licenses, etc.). Peter Nehr has also filed for personal bankruptcy, twice. If he can’t stay in the black in his personal life, what hope does he have with other people’s money? Tory Perfetti on the other hand is a good conservative who has unequivocally vowed to nullify Obamacare should he be elected. He opposes red light cameras and increases in taxes and fees to support a bloated government. He’s not perfect, as he does support drug testing without probable cause, but given the alternatives, we recommend Mr. Perfetti over the others.
State Representative, District 67 (Pinellas County)
Christopher Shepard v. Ed Hooper
We recommend Christopher Shepard in this race against incumbent Ed Hooper. Hooper has come out in support of taxpayer-funded light rail, unconstitutional red light cameras, tax and fee increases, and voted to mandate drug tests without probable cause. Chris Shepard (website) is a relative newcomer to the political arena, but his views more closely align with most Americans and the cause of Liberty.
State Representative, District 68 (Pinellas County)
Daryle Hamel v. Frank Farkas
We recommend Daryle Hamel for this open House seat. Daryle is an unabashed conservative and is a friend of the Tampa Bay Liberty movement. Frank Farkas already served a previous 8-years in the Florida House. Let’s keep this wanna-be career politician out of office, especially with a great candidate such as Hamel stepping up to the plate.
State Representative, District 69 (Pinellas County)
Jim Dobyns v. Kathleen Peters and David Phillips
We recommend Jim Dobyns for this open House seat. Jim has been on the ground in Pinellas for a long time. He opposes taxpayer funded light rail, red light cameras, and a much more responsible budget in Tallahassee. Kathleen Peters is the Mayor of South Pasadena and has supported the light rail initiative, and as Mayor, spent over $1 million for the implementation of red light cameras in her city. David Phillips is a lawyer who says the right things on the campaign trail, but his motives are murky and simply has not been present in the Bay area, skipping primary elections for years and showing up at the last minute with a lot of campaign cash. Jim Dobyns is running a grassroots campaign of limited government in the county he’s lived, worked, and voted in for ~25 years and has our support.
Pinellas County Sheriff
Everett Rice v. Bob Gualtieri
We recommend Everett Rice over the appointed incumbent, Bob Gualtieri. Everett Rice is endorsed by Sheriff Richard Mack, a prominent proponent of adhering to the Sheriff’s Oath of Office. The Sheriff’s Oath, begins with “I do solemnly swear that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution ” — Everett has promised to defend the Constitution from all infrigers, including an overreaching Federal government. Being that the County Sheriff is the last line of defense, we support Everett Rice in his return to office.
Marielena Stuart v. Connie Mack, Mike McCalister and Dave Weldon
The spirit behind this website is to select the most Liberty-minded candidate in every race. In that spirit, we recommend Marielena Stuart for U.S. Senate to face off against Bill Nelson in November. She is very much a 9/12 and Tea Party favorite, and out of the three remaining candidates, holds the most liberty-minded positions.
State Committeemen and Women
Few know exactly what this position is. State Committee person is an unpaid position. Each County in Florida has one Committeeman and one Committeewoman, and they represent their respective county at the RPOF. It’s vitally important that we have Liberty-minded people in these Republican Party positions to begin to improve the ecosystem for Liberty candidates in the State of Florida. These candidates are vetted and respected members of the Tampa Bay Liberty movement:
Dan Tucker for State Committeeman, Pinellas County (over Tony DiMatteo and Chris Krampert): Dan Tucker is a leader in the Liberty movement and in the Republican Party, and one of the main reasons Pinellas County was the best county in Florida for Ron Paul. Precinct walks, signs, organization, attending and videotaping every Republican Executive Committee meeting, Dan does it all. We encourage donations to his campaign to help right the Republican Party. Dan’s opponent, Tony DiMatteo, has a bit of a reputation for threatening Ron Paul supporters (video). Mr. DiMatteo has of course denied all charges.
Narda Enander for State Committeewoman, Pinellas County (over Nancy J. Riley)
Paul Fosse for State Committeeman, Hillsborough County (over A.J. Matthews, Travis Horn and Hoe Brown) – Paul Fosse is a leader in the Tampa Bay Liberty Movement and has our full support.
Susanne “Lea” Rashka for State Committeewoman, Hillsborough County (over Tina Pike) – Lea Rashka is a leader in the Tampa Bay Liberty Movement and has our full support.
Steve Simon for State Committeeman, Pasco County (over Bill Bunting): Bill Bunting was instrumental in kicking out Ron Paul supporters from Pasco Republican Executive Committee meetings in 2008. He is no friend of the Liberty movement and must be replaced.
Sandy Graves for State Committeewoman, Pasco County (over Nancy Britton)
These races either have less of a Liberty slant to them, or this author doesn’t have enough info to flesh out the recommendation. Nonetheless, these recommendations come from grassroots members of the Liberty movement. Feel free to flesh them out or debate them in the comments section.
State Senator, District 17
John Korsak v. John Legg and Rob Wallace
We recommend John Korsak, a friend of the Liberty movement, in this State Senate race in Pasco.
State Representative, District 36 (Pasco County)
Mike Fasano v. Michael Kennedy and James Mathieu
We recommend Mike Fascano for this State House seat. Unlike opponent James Mathieu, he does not have Establishment ties to Pasco State Committeeman Bill Bunting, who, as mentioned in the State Committeeman races above, was instrumental in kicking out Ron Paul supporters from Pasco Republican Executive Committee meetings in 2008.
Board of County Commissioners, District 5 (Pasco County)
Jack Mariano v. Bill Gunter
Quoting a Pasco County grassroots lover of Liberty: “We’re supporting Mariano over Gunther in the County Commissioner race. Mariano has actually done a good job in most respects. Gunther is an extreme lightweight whose only refrain at the debate was that we needed “more morality” in government and “devoted men of God” in public service. When you pin him down on specifics, all he’ll say is that we need to remove waste, fraud, and abuse from government. When you ask him for some specifics in those categories, he goes mute.”
Board of County Commissioners, District 3 (Pasco County)
Joshua Josiah Griffin v. Randy Evans, Chris Gregg, Karen King and Kathryn Starkey
Josh Griffin is a friend and favorite of the Tampa Bay Liberty movement in this Pasco County Commissioner race.
Pasco School Board Member, District 2
Don Stephenson v. Joanne Hurley
We recommend Don Stephenson for this seat over incumbent Joanne Hurley. Joanne never met a vote she didn’t like; she has a flawless record of voting “yea” (over 600 votes in total), whether it be wasteful spending or not. Her campaign is funded by special interest groups, and has no platform to speak of, other than YES to every single item presented to the Pasco School board. Don Stephenson is running an excellent campaign based on bringing new ideas to a tired school district. Update: somebody in Pasco likes to steal Mr. Stephenson’s signs.
Pasco County Sheriff
Chris Nocco v. Roger Fortney and Maurice Radford
The Pasco grassroots has provided their feedback, and Chris Nocco appears to be quietly very liberty minded. We trust those guys in Pasco, so Chris Nocco has our support.
Pinellas School Board Member, District 1 – At Large
Shelly Ladd-Gilbert v. Elliott Stern, Jim Jackson and Janet R. Clark
We recommend Shelly Ladd-Gilbert (website) for this seat. She has 9 years of elementry school teaching under her belt, as well as small business experience, and has been making the rounds at the various grassroots groups. Meet her in person and you can’t not like her. Shelly’s main opponent, Elliott Stern, a former Raymond James big-shot, is facing complaints over his fundraising methods.
Pinellas School Board Member, District 7 – Single Member
Glenton “Glen” Gilzean v. Keisha Bell, Rene Flowers, Corey Givens, Jr. and Cassandra Jackson
We recommend Glen Gilzean over the other candidates for this school board seat. Members of the liberty movement have met him and he appears to be a fine choice. Although this race is non-partisan, we are informed that Glen is the only Republican in this race.
Precinct Committeeman, Precinct 316 (Pinellas County)
Fenton Gentry v. Tony DiMatteo and Gideon Hecht
This race is interesting because Tony DiMatteo is the current Pinellas State Committeeman. If he loses this race, he is off the Pinellas Republican Executive Committee, and therefore, would not be able to retain his State Committeeman seat, even if he somehow beats Liberty-favorite Dan Tucker for the position. If we want to see the Republican Party embrace Liberty candidates, we need to replace the current establishment. Therefore, we’re going to support his opponent, Fenton Gentry, who is a member of Pinellas Patriots and appears to be a Constitutional advocate. Tony DiMatteo also has a bit of a reputation for threatening Ron Paul supporters (video). Mr. DiMatteo has of course denied all charges.
Circuit Judge, 6th Judicial Circuit, Group 15
Bill Burgess v. Andy Steingold
Nobody ever knows how to vote in the Judge races, but we have it on good authority from the grassroots that Bill Burgess has been sounding fairly liberty-minded on the campaign trail, so unless someone wants to step up and vouch for Andy Steingold as a better liberty-leaning Judge, Bill Burgess gets our recommendation.
Circuit Judge, 6th Judicial Circuit, Group 31
Brian Battaglia v. Kimberly “Kim” Campbell – The buzz on the ground recommends Brian Battaglia for this Circuit seat.
Circuit Judge, 6th Judicial Circuit, Group 45
Jack Day v. Agnes Theresa McCabe – The buzz on the ground recommends Jack Day for this Circuit seat. 8/12/12 Update: The Liberty Underground radio program has released an interview with these two candidates. In the comments below, the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida Adrian Wyllie recommends giving McCabe a closer look.
County Judge, Group 2
Cathy Ann McKyton v. Scott Andringa - The buzz on the ground recommends Cathy Ann McKyton for this County Judge seat.