During a recent meeting of the Polk County Republican Executive Committee, with a potential gubernatorial candidate from Polk County, state Sen.Paula Dockery, speaking, people still wanted to know or to reveal their guess about what Polk County Commissioner Randy Wilkinson will do.
Term limits prevent him from running for his District 2 commission seat again in 2010.
Already, two Republicans, Heath Whitaker and Melony Bell, and a Democrat, Jacquelyn Smith, have lined up for his place on the County Commission.
Another Republican, Lynn Wilson withdrew from the race and is running for the nonpartisan seat on the Polk County School Board.
“He’s going to run for School Board;” “He’s going to run for the Florida House,” were some of the declarations at the REC meeting from people who said they were positive they know what the commissioner will do.
Those were followed by comments from others, “Oh he doesn’t want to run for School Board,” while another said “He doesn’t want to run for the Legislature.”
After years in public office – the Polk County School Board from 1994 to 1998 and the County since then – it is hard to believe that Wilkinson will not be running for something next year.
“Oh, I haven’t decided just yet. I’ll let you know when I do,” he says every time I ask him, which is every time I see him.
But there are some telltale signs that might help.
First, Wilkinson has had some of the strongest hardcore support throughout his stint on the School Board and County Commission.
In two separate elections, a photo of Wilkinson in court ran in The Ledger but he was re-elected both times.
In both cases prosecutors didn’t proceed with charges.
The first was for domestic violence and supporters and even some nonsupporters continue to debate whether he was treated fairly.
The second was a charge of DUI by the Lakeland police when, as test results would show, he was neither drunk nor drugged, just tired. His supporters stuck with him.
Now secondly, Wilkinson has had his hand in politics too long to let go especially when as a fiscal conservative he likes holding spenders’ feet to the fire, and not just big spenders.
He has pretty well indicated he might not be interested in sitting on the School Board again.
But where is the place fiscal conservatives are having their best success these days?
Why it’s the Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives.
[ Ledger Political Editor Bill Rufty can be reached at email@example.com or 863-802-7523. ]
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