SAFETY HARBOR — For the first time in a long while, there’s no need for a local municipal election: Incumbent Mayor Joe Ayoub and Commissioner Carlos Diaz each earned automatic reappointments after no one filed to run against them.
Ayoub, who’s served several terms as mayor and commissioner since first being elected in 2007, posted a video on his official Facebook page thanking the residents for their continued support.
“Today, the qualifying period ended, and I found out I will not have an opponent and will go unchallenged this election to serve another term as your mayor,” he said in the Dec. 12 post. “I want to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to all of you for your support over the years. Being able to serve this city as an elected official has been one of the greatest opportunities and honors of my life.
“I want to let you all know that I’m just as committed today as I was the first day I got elected to keep Safety Harbor one of the best cities in the world to live in. So again, thank you very much. I look forward to seeing you all downtown sometime soon.”
For Ayoub, who has participated in several campaign cycles — some contentious — during the past 15 years, not having to run again is a welcome change.
“It’s a nice treat for the city to not have to go through another election cycle,” Ayoub told Tampa Bay Newspapers recently.
Diaz, a former pro baseball player and longtime businessman first elected in 2014, agreed.
“It is nice,” Diaz said during a recent benefit breakfast for the late Whistle Stop owner, Louis Kinney, at Daydreamers Café. “I’m happy for Joe and myself and for the city of Safety Harbor.”