The Tampa Bay Times editorial board has released its recommendations for the upcoming Primary Elections for local Hillsborough and Pinellas County seats.
Before the board makes a recommendation decision, it interviews the candidates. The process can also include running criminal and civil background checks, interviewing candidates’ colleagues and employers, reviewing voting records and financial disclosures and examining their past and current positions on relevant issues, according to the Times.
For the Hillsborough County Commission, the Times Board is recommending Michael Owen in the Republican Primary for District 4, and Joshua Wostal in the Republican Primary for District 7.
In District 4, Own, a real-estate lawyer, faces Noelle Licor in the Republican Primary. Because there is no Democratic candidate, the Primary winner will succeed Commissioner Stacy White, who is leaving office because of term limits.
“Both candidates are prepared, but Owen seems better positioned to deliver on his agenda,” the editorial board writes of Owen.
The District 7 GOP Primary features Chase Harrison and Wostal, who the Times writes is “the party’s stronger choice.” The Republican nominee will go on to face incumbent Democratic Commissioner Kim Overman, who has held the seat since 2018.
Over in Pinellas County, the Times is endorsing two more Republican Primary candidates — Brian Scott, who is running for the District 2 seat, and incumbent District 4 Commissioner Dave Eggers.
Scott, who the Times says is “more well-rounded,” is racing against Debbie Buschman for the Republican nomination — the winner of which will go on to battle incumbent Democratic Commissioner Pat Gerard.
The incumbent Eggers faces one other candidate, Republican Shawn Price. Since there is no Democratic candidate in the race, the winner of the Primary will automatically be elected the next Commissioner.
“Eggers has the best interest of Pinellas County at heart and has done a solid job on the commission, even if we haven’t agreed with all of his votes,” the Times board writes.
Outside of the County Commissioner races, the Times also released the following local endorsements ahead of the Primaries:
— Stacy Hahn (incumbent), Hillsborough School Board District 2
— Hunter Gambrell, Hillsborough School Board District 4
— Karen Perez (incumbent), Hillsborough School Board District 6
— Lisa Cane (incumbent), Pinellas County School Board District 2
— Keesha Benson, Pinellas County School Board District 3
— Brian Martin, Pinellas County School Board District 6
— Caprice Edmond (incumbent), Pinellas County School Board District 7