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GOP Sheriff Candidate Rice Limits Appearances Before Primary

With the Republican primary drawing near, one candidate for Pinellas County Sheriff seems to be shying from the spotlight, according to candidate forum organizers.

One Republican challenger in the race for Pinellas County Sheriff is becoming increasingly elusive just as the primary is drawing near, forum organizers say. 

was noticeably absent at a July 2 candidate forum in Clearwater, two weeks after during a forum in Palm Harbor. And some forum organizers are under the impression that Rice — slightly ahead of his opponent, according to an unscientific poll conducted by St. Pete Polls — is now refusing to attend any other forums before the Aug. 14 Republican primary, except for being streamed live on Patch.

“If you only knew the story behind the story to make sure Rice didn’t fail to show up at the debate,” said Harvey Smith, coordinator for the July 17 Sheriff’s candidate debate at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater Octagon Arts Center. “[He] has said he won’t participate in any more as it’s (quote Rice) ‘an exercise in stupidity.' ”

Rice confirmed his attendance to the July 17 debate with both the debate coordinator and a Patch reporter.

He said it would be his last before the campaign.

"I have about exhausted all the forums,” Rice said during a phone interview. “It is the same thing over and over again."

Carl Schrader, who helped put together the July 2 Clearwater forum, said Rice was elusive about his plans leading up to his event. Rice said he would call back, but he waited until two days before the forum to say he had a previous engagement.

“For whatever reason, (Rice) said he had something more important to do,” Schrader said at the outset of the July 2 candidate forum.

Rice told Patch that he could not attend because he had committed to helping at a food pantry opening for Beaming Hope Church in Clearwater.

During the forum on July 2, Interim Sheriff said he was not going to address the Democrat candidate ’s campaign points, but rather focus his attention on Rice, even though he was not present.

“He and I are not running against each other right now,” Gualtieri said reminding the crowd that he first must win the nomination in the Aug. 14 Primary Election. “My opponent in the Republican primary decided not to be here tonight.” 

Rice said he welcomes the public to call him with their individual questions at 727-365-1298.

Be sure to watch the candidates debate at 6:30 p.m. July 17 at Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater's Octagon Arts Center, 2470 Nursery Road, or catch Patch's . The debate is sponsored by Patch, the National Armed Services & Law Enforcement Memorial Museum and Bay News 9.

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Alex E. Cahn July 15, 2012 at 11:12 PM
I think if I was a Republican, I'd stay in hiding too these days. And I'm amazed that things are so close in the presidential race. Romney signed forms saying he was CEO and chair of Bain capital for several years after he now claims he had left. And if he really did leave, then why was the corporation still paying him $100,000 per year??? He has also only released one tax return (and one estimate) while both Obama and Biden released ten or more years of returns long ago. What is he hiding? Oh, and to top it off, Rmoney and his wife took a $77,000 tax deduction for their DANCING HORSE! Seriously. Anyone else here ever take a write-off for a dancing horse? Do we want as president someone who claims he wasn't working at a company that was still paying him $100K per year while closing factories and sending jobs to other countries??? Also, Obama inherited an economy that was losing more than 700,000 jobs EVERY MONTH, and we've now had at least twenty consecutive months of job growth. Not enough.. but at least it's growth! There's so many other reasons that Obama is better than anyone the GOP has these days, but I'll just add one more big one. Obama offered several compromises to reach a deal to cut the deficit, including offering $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in taxes on the richest of the rich. The GOP said no while attacking Obama and claiming he was the one refusing to compromise!!!
Wm. Erklin III July 30, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Obamo must go. His inexperience shows at every level of endeavor. He must go. Just really think about where he came from, what he has done and where He is taking us. THINK! Obama must go!

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