Democrats for the Re-election of Republican Leon County Commissioner

These Democrats are endorsing the Republican commissioner from Sheriff Larry Campbell to the former head of the state Democratic Party.

Grippa is trying to break through party lines in preparation for the upcoming non-partisan election. However, his opponent Bob Hightower is calling it a political ploy and says, “bring it on.”

Handshakes and hugs, it's an unusual thing to see between Republicans and Democrats in the midst of an election year, but Leon County Commissioner Tony Grippa is creating alliances he hopes will help win him another four-year term.

Screven Watson, former Head of State Democratic Party, says, “I've been doing Democratic politics for 18 years, never endorsed a Republican. I like Tony Grippa, he's a good leader.”

Larry Campbell, Leon County Sheriff, adds, “I'm here as an elected official with the people who elected, also, I vote for the person, not the party.”

It's the same message this group is touting as Leon County prepares for an upcoming election, one that's non-partisan.

Tony Grippa, Leon County Commissioner, says, “That's the first time Leon County has ever had that and it should be about the person not politics, that's the way I've served the people of Leon County. Hopefully that's the way people will vote.”

His opponent Bob Hightower begs to differ, saying Grippa's political ploy counteracts what non-partisan stands for.

Bob Hightower, (D) Candidate for Leon County Commissioner, says, “If he wants to make it into a Partisan election I say bring it on, Secondly, I'm honored he is so afraid of my candidacy he needs this much backup.”

Holding a non-partisan election simply means voters will not see an R or D next to a candidate's name on the ballot, a new procedure passed by voters in 2002, that's when citizens passed a home rule charter that includes non-partisan elections for commissioners and the supervisor of elections.

“Basically, citizens felt like county issues were inherently not partisan, says Vincent Long, assistant Leon County Administrator.

With the 2004 election months away, Grippa has formed a committee called "Democrats for Grippa." His challengers for the District 4 seat are Bob Hightower and Joshua Hicks. Hicks was not available for comment Wednesday.