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SunCoast Police Benevolent Association backs incumbent Pinellas Commissioner Janet Long

It’s a big deal for a law enforcement group to back a Democrat over a Republican.

The Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association endorsed Janet Long in her reelection to the Pinellas County Commission. 

The Sun Coast PBA has nearly 1,300 members from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Petersburg, Largo, Gulfport, Kenneth City, Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island Police Departments. 

“The Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association is proud to endorse Janet C. Long for Commissioner District 1 based on her continued and outspoken support for the brave men and women who selflessly protect and serve in Pinellas County every day,” Sun Coast PBA President Jon Vazquez said in a news release.

Long has two immediate family members who work in law enforcement.

The PBA joins several key organizations that have endorsed Long, including the Pinellas Realtor Organization, the Suncoast Sierra Club, the West Central Florida Labor Council and the AFL-CIO. 

Long, who has held the at-large District 1 seat since 2012, faces Republican challenger Larry Ahern in the November general election. 

Ahern previously served Florida’s 66th District in northwestern Pinellas County from 2012 to 2018, and in Florida’s 51st District from 2010 to 2012, giving him name recognition in the area. During his time in the House, Ahern was recognized as arguably the most conservative lawmaker in the Pinellas legislative delegation and an early Trump supporter. 

Long continues to lead in campaign fundraising and has a growing list of key endorsements. Recently, Long raised $4,400 in the period spanning July 11 through July 17, and totaling $94,345 in contributions since the start of her campaign. 

Ahern, on the other hand, raised just $1,100 in the most recent period, bringing his contributions to $18,645, including $6,500 in candidate loans.

Before serving on the Pinellas County Commission, Long served on the Seminole City Council from 2002 to 2006, and in the Florida House of Representatives from 2006 to 2010. 

The at-large District 1 seat represents the areas of northeast and mid-Pinellas County.

Written By

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at kelly@floridapolitics.com.

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