BRADENTON – Former Manatee County Commissioner Gwen Brown has announced that she will not be seeking the Manatee County Commission District 2 seat. Brown had filed to run in March, but announced at a Tiger Bay Club event Thursday that she would be withdrawing from the race. She did not cite a specific reason.
Brown ran into several embarrassing situations in the run-up to the 2010 election, from having her county wages garnished for unpaid debts to having to reimburse the county for gross misuse of public resources. She was then defeated by sitting commissioner Michael Gallen in an open primary. Counting PAC money, Brown outspent Gallen around four dollars to one, but still ended up losing by nearly 12 points.
In the short period she served between losing the open primary and the seating of Commissioner Gallen, she ended up in the middle of another controversy. Despite county attorneys having put a gag order on the issue, she was caught on video speaking with a Neal Communities consultant (ironically, current County Commissioner Betsy Benac) during a break, only to return to the chamber and switch her vote, swinging a controversial decision on the Robinson Farms development.
So far there are three candidates who have filed for August's Democratic primary. Along with Gallen, who will be seeking reelection, Palmetto City Commissioner Charles Smith and Palmetto-based private investigator Corie Holmes have thrown their hats into the ring. Holmes made an unsuccessful bid to challenge District 1 County Commissioner Larry Bustle in 2012.
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