TampaBay Blue is disappointed that the smart, techno-savvy and earnest candidate for Supervisor of Elections, Lee Nelson, is bowing out of the race. Lee Nelson has been an outspoken voice for change and he has inspired the voters of the county to look carefully at the Republican incumbent, Buddy Johnson.
Thank you, Lee Nelson, for the dedicated work you have done to open up discussion and review of this important office.
Here is Lee Nelson's official statement:
Dear Friend and Supporter,
After much deliberation I have decided to withdraw my name from the Supervisor of Elections race and want to thank you for everything you did to help me in my campaign. I got into this race because I know that the position of Supervisor of Elections (SOE) is the most important elected local office and it is imperative that it be run with the utmost level of honesty and transparency. I was running because I knew that my professional experiences in IT and Project Management would restore competency to this badly mismanaged office. And I was running because I do not trust the current SOE. Buddy Johnson has continually abused his office and I have ZERO faith in his ability to honestly and fairly conduct elections. His actions are an affront to both Democracy itself as well as the trust we place in our elected officials.
The race was never about me and always about the urgency to replace Buddy with someone trustworthy and competent. With a steering committee made up of 30% republicans I know that the community shares my concerns. I also know that each of you tried your very best and offered so much of your time and money to the campaign – your efforts were not in vain. Since August, I can confidently say that we have directly touched and communicated with over 10,000 voters at various events, through varying canvassing efforts, and during our petition gathering. We got into the race early and helped drive the public discussion about the importance of this office. There are 272 people on this email distribution and each and every one of you made this possible.
This is by far the most exciting election cycle in my lifetime. Globally, we can re-invent ourselves as a nation that respects international law and the rights of all individuals. Nationally, we have the opportunity to right the wrongs of the dishonest and misguided Neo-con revolution that we were forced into, by electing a new President and removing Congressional ‘leaders’ who only served as Bush enablers. Locally, we have an opportunity to remove puppet BOCC members, self-serving State House members, as well as the SOE.
At the turn of the year, major changes and new responsibilities emerged for me at work. It is imperative that Buddy be replaced this election cycle and I am unable to meet the demands of both my professional and political obligations. When Phyllis Busansky announced her candidacy at the end of January, the goals and objectives of the campaign, along with available resources, were abruptly altered. As most of you know, there was an immediate split amongst activists along three lines – those who support me, those who support Phyllis, and those who could not commit because of their direct affiliation with the DEC. We cannot remove Buddy unless we all work together and as I cannot give 100% of myself to this campaign must withdraw. I have both spoken to and offered my service to Phyllis and know that only by working together can we replace Buddy Johnson. Phyllis is a first-class citizen and was and will be an exceptional elected official whose efforts to positively influence our society continue to be successful and well executed. Above technological aptitude, running that office honestly and openly is the key to having fair elections.
I was constantly encouraged by all of your gracious support and am so very thankful for the life long friends I have made with all of you. We have much work to do and I will continue to see you all along the campaign trail – just in a different capacity and for varying campaigns. I am truly humbled by your selflessness and passion for change and know we will triumph.
Thank you for everything you have done for me.