Six candidates to vie for three open Safety Harbor City Commission seats - Florida Politics

Six candidates to vie for three open Safety Harbor City Commission seats

Six candidates will be running for three open city commission seats in Safety Harbor’s 2018 municipal election. The qualifying period ended noon Tuesday for the March 13 ballot.

The candidates, listed alphabetically by seat:

SEAT #1:

Nancy Besore

Scott Long (incumbent)

SEAT #2:

Spencer Bell

Cliff Merz (i)

SEAT #3:

Damon Lister

Andy Zodrow (i)

The group is flush with political experience at the local and state level.

Long, Merz and Zodrow are incumbents seeking another term; Besore served six years on the SHCC and ran for mayor in 2014 and commission last year; Lister ran for Seat 1 last year and recently resigned as the city’s economic development liaison to run for Seat 3 this year; and Bell is a relative unknown in town but a veteran of Florida politics who led Jackie Toledo’s successful campaign for State House in October and served as the regional director for the Republican Party of Florida from 2014-2016.

The depth of the field and experience of the candidates is impressive, as well as a good sign for the city moving forward, according to Mayor Joe Ayoub.

“It is great that so many people are willing and interested to put themselves out there and go through the rigorous process of running a campaign so that they can hopefully serve our community,” Ayoub said via email.

“It benefits our residents and our city as a whole to have so many qualified candidates debating the issues and sharing their vision so that our citizens can have a choice in how our city is governed and the direction it is taken.”

The six candidates are scheduled to participate in a forum Thursday, Feb. 1, beginning with a meet and greet at 6 p.m. at Safety Harbor City Hall, located at 750 Main Street.

For more information on Safety Harbor’s 2018 municipal election, visit

Jeff Rosenfield is a freelance journalist based in Pinellas County. The 50-year-old has covered local politics, professional and amateur sports, special events and other subjects in the area for nearly ten years for AOL Patch, Tampa Bay Newspapers and the Associated Press, among others. A self-proclaimed sports nut, Jeff enjoys attending baseball and football games, grilling-out in the glorious Florida sunshine, and covering news and events that affect residents in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
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