Best Race We Wish Weren’t Happening

KEVIN BECKNER VS. PAT FRANK FOR HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY CLERK

click to enlarge Best Race We Wish Weren’t Happening - Heidi Kurpiela
Heidi Kurpiela
Best Race We Wish Weren’t Happening

The he saids/she saids are disheartening enough — Commissioner Beckner says Pat Frank told him she wasn’t running for reelection as clerk of the circuit court, Frank says she told him nothing of the kind — but the upshot is that two of Hillsborough’s most valued politicians are locked in a race that leaves supporters of both in a bind. The dilemma is especially intense for LGBT voters: Beckner, the first openly gay commissioner in Hillsborough’s history, has been a community champion, leading the successful push to repeal the ban on support of gay pride in the county. And Frank endeared herself permanently to the gay community when, after Florida lifted its same-sex marriage ban in January, she officiated over a mass gay wedding in Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park. It would be a tough choice no matter what the circumstances — Beckner, 44, has unmistakable charisma and a background as a financial planner, making him well-suited to a job which has been compared to that of a CFO. Frank, 85, is a much-admired public figure with years of experience on her side, including stints as a commissioner, a state legislator, and three terms as County Clerk. But if they’re not careful in how they run this race, it could wind up besmirching the record of both.

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