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Kathleen Peters cruises to easy victory over Amy Kedron

Outgoing state Rep. Kathleen Peters scored an easy win over Democrat Amy Kedron Tuesday night in her bid for Pinellas County Commission District 6.

Peters won 60 percent to 40 percent over Kedron with three quarters of all precincts reporting.

The district covers mid-Pinellas County including Seminole, parts of St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island and Madeira Beach.

Peters will replace John Morroni, who passed away earlier this year.

Peters entered the race with broad name recognition from her service in Tallahassee. She served in House District 69 since 2012 and before that was Mayor of South Pasadena.

She also waged a high-profile campaign against former Congressman David Jolly in a heated primary contest to replace the late Bill Young for that seat.

Peters also likely gained respect from independent voters after she announced she would be leaving her post in Tallahassee. Peters vocally took on departing House Speaker Richard Corcoran in his attacks on home rule, threatening local government’s ability to maintain autonomy over its own policies.

She told reporters and voters she grew tired of the hyper-partisanship in the state’s capital and thought she could better serve voters in the less-partisan county commission.

Peters also amassed an impressive war chest, raising nearly $250,000 for her commission campaign. Kedron raised just $37,000.

Kedron also was the subject of scrutiny, which could have been why her campaign never really gained momentum.

The Democrat was the subject of stalking and abuse accusations by her former boyfriend. Kedron countered by saying she was the one who was the victim of domestic abuse.

Kedron also was ridiculed by some after calling police on Tampa Bay Times reporter Mark Puente, who was waiting on a public sidewalk near one of her campaign fundraisers to ask questions.

News of that incident led to one of the few elected officials who publicly supported her, St. Petersburg City Council member Gina Driscoll, rescinding her endorsement

Kedron is a former professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and got a law degree, but Florida Bar records show she is not licensed to practice here. 

Peters said she plans to continue working on mental health issues as a Pinellas County Commissioner, which was one of her top priorities in the House.

She said she wants to create a program for people detained under the Marchman Act to give them beds and substance abuse counseling programs. Currently people detained under the Marchman Act are taken to the Pinellas County jail and released once they sober up.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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