Bartell will face familiar opponent

Philip Mulrain files to run on the Democratic ticket against the four-term commissioner, whom he has criticized.

Published April 13, 2006

Philip Mulrain is trying, again, to unseat County Commissioner Gary Bartell.

Mulrain, 60, lost to Bartell in 2002, with Bartell garnering 64.7 percent of the votes and Mulrain only 35.3 percent.

Mulrain also ran for the District 2 commission seat against Bartell in 1998 and ran for tax collector in 2000, but he lost both bids in the Democratic primaries.

Mulrain filed papers to run on the Democratic ticket again. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In 2002, he criticized Bartell's leadership, saying that Bartell flip-flopped on some issues and delayed action on others.

"After 12 years, I am tired of wondering what vote he (Bartell) will take," Mulrain told the Citrus Times that year.

He also said the county should be more proactive in acquiring federal funds for water quality projects, widen Grover Cleveland Boulevard and build a swimming pool in the Homosassa area to provide positive activities for youths.

The semiretiree from Lecanto moved to Citrus County 22 years ago from Massachusetts, where he once ran unsuccessfully for local office.

Between 1966 and 1990, he served at various times in the U.S. Air Force, the Air Force Reserve and the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

Bartell, a Republican, said Wednesday that he had not heard that Mulrain planned to run before a Citrus Times reporter contacted him. The four-term commissioner declined to comment on Mulrain's candidacy, though he described him as "a good guy."

The incumbent for the District 4 commission seat, Republican Jim Fowler, has not yet announced whether he will seek re-election.

Republicans Richard Callahan and John Thrumston and Democrat Bernie Leven have filed to run for the seat.

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or 860-7309.