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Busansky seeks elections post
She is the second Democrat to join the race against incumbent Buddy Johnson.
By BILL VARIAN, Times Staff Writer
Published February 8, 2008
Phyllis Busansky cites polling place woes as leading her to run for Supervisor of Elections.
TAMPA - Former county commissioner Phyllis Busansky said Thursday she will run against Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson, who is overseeing the transition to new voting machines.
"I am committed to restoring confidence in the Hillsborough election process so all voters will know that their votes are accurately counted in a timely manner," said Busansky, 70, a Democrat. "Anything less is unacceptable."
Busansky, who months ago had surgery for lung cancer that she pronounced a success, lost a bid in 2006 for the 9th Congressional District, an election won by Gus Bilirakis. She served as a commissioner from 1988 to 1996 and is credited as the architect of the county's indigent health care program.
She joins Democrat Lee P. Nelson, a project manager for a software development team at the Verizon Tech Center in Temple Terrace, in challenging Johnson.
Busansky cited unannounced polling place changes in 2007 as an example of unacceptable work by Johnson's office. She also faulted him for recently hiring a public relations firm to help educate voters on how to use new optical scan voting machines.
Johnson, a Republican former state legislator who was appointed elections supervisor in 2003 and won re-election the following year, said he looks forward to the campaign.
"I really welcome and am excited about the opportunity to communicate with the voters about how this office has been managed and how the issues we are responsible for have been conducted," Johnson said.
Nelson, who has voiced similar concerns with Johnson as Busansky, said his work developing new technology gives him better credentials for the job than either candidate. He dismissed Busansky as a candidate of the Democratic "establishment" in a news release Thursday.
"It's not about electing people for the sake of getting them elected," Nelson said. "I think it's about getting people elected because they can do the job correctly."