Two-term Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice received a good race for his seat in opposition to small enterprise proprietor Tammy Vasquez, who ran a marketing campaign important of the county’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
With all precincts reporting, Justice acquired 50.3 p.c of the vote and a slender margin of victory over Vasquez, in keeping with unofficial outcomes from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Workplace.
“That is the best job anybody might have is to serve the general public, so for the individuals to offer me that honor once more I actually really feel nice and sit up for getting again to work,” Justice mentioned. “The nationwide partisanship trickled down greater than most thought it might to native races, though it shouldn’t have something to do with this race.”
The race was underscored by Vasquez supporters who’ve rallied in opposition to Justice’s vote for the County Fee’s June 23 ordinance requiring face coverings in most indoor public locations amid the pandemic. Anti-mask advocates have flooded social media and fee assembly cellphone traces, pledging to vote Justice out of workplace. In addition they focused County Commissioner Janet Lengthy, the one different incumbent up for reelection, rallying behind her Republican challenger.
Justice, 52, additionally threw water on Vasquez’s platform that blamed the county for companies being compelled to shut for months in the course of the top of the pandemic. On April 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued his first coronavirus associated government order that restricted all exercise in Florida to important companies. He didn’t, nonetheless, outline what was important, leaving counties to find out which industries to shut. DeSantis’ later orders specified companies as he allowed them to reopen in phases.
In an e-mail final month, Vasquez, 48, declined to clarify what she would have achieved in a different way. Vasquez grew up in Treasure Island and owns Bark Life, a canine grooming, boarding and retail enterprise.
For a 3rd time period, Justice campaigned on prioritizing areas of poverty, infrastructure enhancements and boosting small companies and native employers.
A St. Petersburg native who served within the Florida Legislature from 2000 to 2010, Justice pointed to initiatives which have helped the financial system and high quality of life throughout his eight years in county workplace. He’s credited for spearheading efforts to open the Lealman Alternate, a neighborhood middle meant to assist revitalize the world.
The Small Enterprise Enterprise program elevated the worth of products the native authorities buys from small companies from $250,000 to $7 million. Whereas chair of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, water high quality has improved to its finest “in over 50 years,” Justice mentioned. And he highlights enhancements made for first responders, together with “higher protecting gear, an up to date fleet, new rescue items” and thousands and thousands for wage enhancements.
Justice’s marketing campaign was boosted with $114,589 in contributions, outpacing Vasquez’s $85,671, in keeping with monetary studies.
Vasquez earned endorsements from Republicans like state Rep. Chris Latvala and Treasure Island Mayor Larry Lunn. However she skipped digital boards and interviews with outstanding teams like Girls Speak Black, League of Girls Voters St. Petersburg, the Sierra Membership and Suncoast Tiger Bay discussion board.