The Gulfport Democratic Club and St. Petersburg Club hosted a Meet the Candidates Forum at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom Thursday night. Almost all of the 19 candidates invited attended the event, they included:
- Bob Gualtieri, GOP candidate for Sheriff;
- Scott Swope, Democratic candidate for Sheriff;
- Jessica Ehrlich, U.S. District House 13 candidate (Democrat);
- Buck Walz, Republican candidate for District 7, at large, County Commission;
- Ken Welch, Democratic incumbent, District 7, at large, County Commission.
Pinellas County Sheriff Candidates Bob Gualtieri and Scott Swope debated about the elimination of the fugitive section of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Gualtieri maintains that the decision saved money.
"We are arresting people on fugitive warrants and we’re doing it effectively and cost efficiently," Gualtieri said.
Swope said if elected he would reinstate the fugitive section and fund it with money that is already available.
"We can reallocate the services from one place to another," Swope said.
Patch will have more from both candidates in a future article.
Pinellas County Commissioner Candidates Neil Brickfield Janet Long, Nancy Bostock, Charlie Justice, Buck Walz and Ken Welch debated tax increases and the recent vote to remove fluoride from drinking water. More from those topics in a future article.
Other races included the Supervisor of Elections, Pinellas County School Board and FL State House Dist. 69. Patch will have results from the forum in our continuous coverage.
Pinellas County residents heard several candidates throughout the evening, including the Democratic Candidate for US House Dist. 13, Jessica Ehrlich. Ehrlich addressed guests during the two minute introduction but removed herself from the forum because Rep. C.W. Bill Young was not present. Billy Young, the representative's son, was at the event instead. Organizers allowed all candidates to speak and allowed representatives to participate.
Billy Young stated his father could not make it due to scheduled events in Washington D.C., including a briefing with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Young also provided printed flyers of the representatives's schedule to audience members.
Watch our related videos to learn more.