Pat Gerard nabs endorsement from Charlie Crist in Pinellas Commission re-election bid

Before being elected for the commission, Gerard served as the first female Mayor of Largo for eight years.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has announced his endorsement of Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard, who is running for re-election to the District 2 seat.

“Pat Gerard has been the strong leader Pinellas County needs in times of crisis. I’m proud to endorse her re-election to Pinellas County Commission District 2,” Crist said in a statement.

Gerard, a Pinellas County Democrat like Crist, has also been endorsed by Ruth’s List Florida since launching her re-election campaign.

“Charlie Crist and I share a love for Pinellas County and a deep commitment to public service in this community. I am thrilled to have Congressman Crist’s endorsement in my re-election to the County Commission,” Gerard said in a statement.

Before being elected to the Commission, Gerard served as the first female Mayor of Largo for eight years.

On the County Commission, Gerard has championed efforts to make county facilities and offices run more efficiently, increase availability of affordable housing, sustainable jobs and behavioral health services, and make government more accessible to citizens and businesses.

She previously worked as the chief operating officer for Family Resources Inc., a nonprofit agency that assists troubled teens. She has more than four decades of experience working in human services.

Although Gerard is currently the only Democrat in the race, two Republicans — Brian Scott and Debbie Buschman — are running in hopes of unseating the incumbent and flipping the seat.

In January, Scott took the lead in fundraising. However, his lead is fragile. Between his campaign and affiliated political committee, Friends of Brian Scott, the candidate has amassed $97,900. On the other hand, Gerard has collected $96,069, leaving a gap of less than $2,000 between the District 2 candidates.

District 2 is an at-large seat covering northwest Pinellas County, but it is voted on countywide.

For years, the GOP has been gunning to retake the district after Gerard flipped the seat blue in 2014, replacing former Commissioner Norm Roche. Roche lost the Republican Primary that year to now-Sen. Ed Hooper, who lost to Gerard in the General Election.

The race will appear on the 2022 ballot. If no Democrat files to challenge Gerard, she will face the winner of the GOP Primary in November.

Kelly Hayes

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 [email protected]



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