Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson told the Tampa Tribune today that County Commissioner Pat Frank CAN keep her Commission seat while campaigning for the Clerk of Circuit Court.....

On Monday, Commissioner Frank announced that she plans to surrender the final 2 days of her term and run for the Clerk of the Circuit Court, running for the position being vacated by Richard Ake....

Frank will be seeking the Democratic nomination for the job against Helene Marks, the reported preferred choice by Ake.......Republicans in the race include former County Commissioner Chris Hart.

Yesterday while waiting for John Kerry to speak at Ballast Point, Commissioner Frank said she was confident that she was on firm legal ground to run for another job - and still maintain her Commission Seat (roll tape#1 o.q."in November")

Johnson said he based his finding on an August 2000 opinion from the Florida Division of Elections that cleared the way for state Cabinet members to run for U.S. Senate.

The Florida Constitution allows the governor to fill a seat that is vacated with less than 28 months remaining in an officeholders term.

However, Supervisor of Elections Johnson says he will still look for confirmation of his opinion from the state, because the legal precedent he cites affected state officers seeking federal officers.

If the state finds differently and says the Governor COULD fill Frank's seat, she says she would then NOT run for Clerk of the Court (roll tape#2 o.q."for resignation")

There has been much speculation in the local newspapers since rumors surfaced that Commission Frank might step down from her Commission Seat......Republican Mark Sharpe, who lost to Jim Davis for Congress 8 years ago, says he is in the race, while former Tampa City Councilmember Bob Buckhorn, and current District 3 Commissioner Tom Scott are said to be strongly considering entering the race.

WMNF asked Commissioner Frank, a Democrat, why she would step down from her important position to become Clerk of the Court ? (roll tape#3 o.q."make it more accessible")

OUTRO: The Clerk's office counts among its functions the stewardship of a $3.5 Billion dollar County Budget and oversight of commission and Court records...

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