Earl Lennard named Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections

07/14/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Governor Charlie Crist today appointed Earl Lennard as Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, replacing the late Phyllis Busansky. Lennard served as Hillsborough County Superintendent of Schools from 1996 to 2005.

The 67 year old Lennard served as an educator for over 4 decades. He also served on a variety of local boards, and contemplated running for State Senate back in 2005. Although a registered Republican, he contemplated running as a Democrat. Governor Crist made the announcement in Clearwater, where he was asked how important was it that he selected a Republican to the office.

Although Lennard is not known as being fiercely partisan, the pick is a disappointment for Hillsborough Democrats, who were advocating that Crist select Craig Latimer, Phyllis Busansky’s Chief of staff.

Governor Crist had recently called Pat Kemp, head of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party, to ask what candidate she supported to replace Busansky. Busansky had defeated Republican incumbent Buddy Johnson last November.

Since that time, numerous allegations of malfeasance have been alleged against Buddy Johnson, who himself was originally selected by a Republican Governor, Jeb Bush, in early 2003, after then Supervisor Pam Iorio stepped down to run for Mayor of Tampa.

Kemp told Crist she should select Latimer. When asked if he thinks Lattimer should stay on, the Governor said that was now Sueprvisor Lennard’s call.

Last Friday Governor Crist came to Tampa and interviewed 6 finalists for the position. Among those candidates included State Senator Victor Crist, former County Commissioner Chris Hart, and former State Representatives Bob Henriquez and Sandy Murman.

Lennard's term will run until November of 2010.

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