Since 2014, Republicans have been looking to retake the District 2 seat on the Pinellas County Commission after Democrat Pat Gerard flipped it blue.
This year, they were successful.
Republican challenger Brian Scott has successfully unseated Gerard in a historic red wave, taking 54% of the vote to the incumbent’s 46%, with over 75% of precincts reporting.
Now, the County Commission will shift to a Republican majority, with Democrats previously clutching onto power in a 4–3 hold.
“I am honored to receive the trust of Pinellas County taxpayers to represent their interests on the County Commission,” Scott said in a statement. “I’m excited to use my experience as a business owner and community advocate to keep our neighborhoods affordable, beautiful, safe and prosperous. In this era of inflation and rampant government spending, local families deserve policies that allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money. I’m ready to accomplish that and so much more, and I can’t wait to get to work.”
The battle was a tough one. After all, Gerard successfully flipped the seat in 2014, replacing former Commissioner Norm Roche and maintaining her seat with ease since. She’s also well-known in Pinellas — before her service on the County Commission, she was the Mayor of Largo. She also had strong support from local officials.
As for Scott, he was the victor of District 2’s Republican Primary, collecting 66% of the vote to opponent Debbie Buschman’s 34%. He proved himself not only a credible candidate but also a competitive fundraiser.
The two were neck-and-neck throughout the race in fundraising, with one occasionally surpassing the other, only for them to come back on top.
Less than two weeks out from Election Day, Gerard had the upper hand, even if by only a sliver. Gerard has amassed $357,065 between her campaign and affiliated political committee, Friends of Pat Gerard. Scott, who works as president of Escot Bus Lines, collected $353,288 between his campaign and affiliated political committee, Friends of Brian Scott.
While Gerard narrowly ousted Scott in fundraising, he had a voter registration advantage of just under 10,000 Republican voters. District 2 is an at-large seat covering northwest Pinellas County, but it is voted on countywide. One week out from the election, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office reported 248,022 registered Republicans, 237,818 registered Democrats and another 211,638 nonpartisan or third-party voters.