Vincent Nowicki, a former St. Petersburg mayoral candidate and local government watchdog, announced he is running for Pinellas County Commission, District 3.
Nowicki, a Republican, is the first to file in the race for the seat, which is currently held by Democrat Charlie Justice. Justice is expected to seek re-election.
“I am a conservative outsider who has seen what liberal policies can do to a city. I will not allow Pinellas County to become like St. Petersburg filled with crime and over development,” Nowicki wrote in his campaign announcement.
He filed paperwork to run Wednesday.
While Nowicki ran for St. Pete Mayor in 2021, the conservative activist is perhaps best known for his efforts to hold local elected officials accountable. His personal investigation into former St. Pete City Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman led to her resignation in September. Nowicki hired a private investigator, who uncovered Wheeler-Bowman was residing outside her district.
He also filed an unsuccessful ethics complaint against Mayor Ken Welch over his appointment of James Corbett as City Development Administrator.
Nowicki said he has also filed a complaint with the IRS against Allendale United Methodist Church, a congregation led by progressive activist Andy Oliver, arguing the church is involved in political campaigns and political fundraising, which would make it ineligible for tax exemption as a religious institution.
“I didn’t need a political position to hold Lisa Wheeler Bowman accountable when others didn’t. And I didn’t need a political position to take a stand against the woke and disturbing Allendale United Methodist Church,” Nowicki said in his announcement. “I will take the same energy to the Pinellas County Commission and be a Watchdog for the taxpayers of Pinellas.”
The District 3 seat is an at-large seat, meaning it is elected countywide. Republicans hold a voter registration advantage of nearly 17,000 voters.
Nowicki briefly ran for Mayor in 2021 and failed to gain traction amid a crowded field of candidates, many with stronger name recognition. He withdrew from the race before the qualifying deadline. A now-closed political committee, Friends of Vince Nowicki, shows he raised $17,200 from March, 2021 until his exit from the race in June of the same year.
Nowicki won’t file his first campaign finance report as a candidate for County Commission until August 10.