Elections

Former Democrat Corie Holmes files to challenge Manatee Commissioner Larry Bustle in 2016 GOP primary

MANATEE -- A second candidate has filed for the District 1 seat on the Manatee County Commission making it the first contested local race in the 2016 election.

Republican Corie Holmes, former Manatee County Sheriff deputy and a former Democrat, filed Monday to run for the District 1 seat.

Republican Nathaniel Leonard filed April 8 for the seat held by Larry Bustle, who had not filed to run as of Tuesday.

"My platform is based on three pillars: public safety and strong neighborhoods, the economy and our environment," Holmes said in a news release Tuesday evening.

Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court R.B. "Chips" Shore, a Republican, also filed for re-election Monday.

Holmes ran against District 2 Commissioner Charles Smith in the 2014 Democratic primary election. He received 29.5 percent of the vote losing to Smith who received 34.4 percent. Former Commissioner Michael Gallen received 34.2 percent.

"My decision to switch political parties came after careful consideration of my views and beliefs based on the issues before our county commission today," Holmes said in the release. "My decisions and plans are inclusive of all residents of this county and not a few."

The District 1 commissioner represents Palmetto, Parrish, Duette, Terra Ceia, Rubonia, Palm View, Gillette and parts of Myakka City.

Three other Manatee County Commission seats are up for re-election in 2016:

District 3, which includes West Bradenton and Anna Maria Island, held by John Chappie, who has filed for re-election.

District 5, which covers Lakewood Ranch, held by Vanessa Baugh.

District 7 at-large seat held by Betsy Benac, board chairwoman.

Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at caronson@bradenton.com. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.

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