MANATEE -- Manatee County Commissioner Donna Hayes has decided to run again for the District 5 seat she now holds.
Hayes, who earlier this year decided she would not seek re-election after serving two terms since 2004, said she made the decision to run again at 12:30 p.m. today after she was surprised by an unexpected pitch from supporters.
During a lunch with six or seven close friends at Pier 22 at the Twin Dolphin Marina, Hayes said was surprised that they had an agenda, getting her to run again.
“Even though I did have some plans on retiring next year, I felt I belong serving and that there’s more I can do,” Hayes said after her mates made their pitch. “I may be a senior citizen, but I’m too young not to be involved.”
Hayes said one reason for her decision was that she wants to work to help Manatee’s unemployment fall from the lofty 10.9 percent it is today to 5 percent, which she says will be her goal.
Possible opponents for Hayes have until summer 2012 to file to challenge. Hayes has one challenger so far -- fellow Republican Vanessa Baugh, owner of Vanessa Fine Jewelry on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.
Hayes and Baugh would meet in an Aug. 14 primary election if things stay as they are now.
“If she wants to come back to the race, that is fine and I will look forward to debating the issues,” Baugh said today when learning Hayes was going to run again.