A second Republican has entered the race to challenge Pat Gerard for her District 2 seat on the Pinellas County Commission.
Brian Scott, president of Escot Bus Lines, filed for the race Tuesday. In the race, he joins fellow Republican Debbie Buschman, the Lunch Pal coordinator for Pinellas County Schools.
Gerard has not yet filed for reelection but is expected to.
In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times announcing his candidacy Wednesday, Scott said he had to fight to keep his family business, founded by his parents in 1983, alive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now is the time to advocate for real-world policies that foster a thriving small business community, improve public health and safety, and preserve the unique quality of life we enjoy in Pinellas County,” Scott told the Times.
As a charter bus executive, Scott previously served as a board member on the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. He also served on the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Advisory Board.
District 2 is an at-large seat covering northwest Pinellas County. Voters countywide can cast a ballot for the race in the General Election.
For years, the GOP has been eying the district to retake after Gerard flipped the seat blue in 2014, replacing former Commissioner Norm Roach. Roach lost the Republican Primary that year to now Sen. Ed Hooper, who lost to Gerard in the General Election.
The district has a Republican advantage with 87,934 Republican voters to 73,454 Democrats. But there are nearly 66,000 no-party affiliated voters, making it a key swing district.
The race will appear on the 2022 ballot. If no Democrat files to challenge Gerard, assuming she files for reelection, she will face the winner of the GOP Primary next November.