Governor appoints new supervisor of elections for Pinellas

Julie Marcus

Pinellas County has been without a supervisor of elections since April 1. Long-time Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark retired March 31.

Gov. Ron DeSantis finally announced a replacement on May 19. He has appointed Clark’s chief deputy, Julie Marcus as supervisor of elections, effective immediately.

Clark served from March 2000 when former Gov. Jeb Bush chose her to complete the unexpired term of former Supervisor of Elections Dorothy Ruggles, who died March 16, 2000. Clark was first elected in 2000.

In her retirement letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis Clark recommended that he consider Marcus to replace her until the November election. All the county’s constitutional officers are up for election this year.

“Julie is unquestionably the most qualified person for this position and is prepared and ready to manage the complexities and responsibilities of being supervisor of elections for Pinellas County,” Clark said in her retirement letter. “I have the utmost confidence in her ability to continue our tradition of conducting excellent elections.”

Marcus has served as chief deputy since 2012 and in her 17 years with the elections office has also served as election services coordinator and voter outreach manager, according to a biography provided by the elections office.

In 2011, Marcus became a Certified Elections Registration Administration, which according to her biography, is the highest national certification an election administrator can receive through The Election Center at Auburn University, also known as the National Association of Election Officials.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Florida.

She has been involved in more than 320 municipal elections, and dozens of recounts and manual audits.

“I am honored and humbled to have been appointed to serve as Pinellas County’s Supervisor of Elections by Gov. DeSantis,” she said in a press release. “I would like to thank my mentor, Deborah Clark, for strongly recommending me for the position based on my 17-years of elections administrative experience.

“We are three months from the primary and five months from the general election. Having administered more than 320 elections, my extensive intuitional knowledge and hands-on experience has prepared me for what we need to do to be successful. We are mission focused.”

As of May 19, four people have announced their intention to run for Supervisor of Elections in the Aug. 18 primary. Marcus is not among them. The candidates include one Republican, Audra Bonneau of St. Petersburg, and three Democrats, including Dan Helm of Pinellas Park, Mike McGraw of St. Petersburg and Leonard Schmiege of St. Petersburg.

An update on the Supervisor of Elections website on May 21, shows that Bonneau has withdrawn and Marcus, a Republican, has now announced her intention to run.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at sporter@tbnweekly.com.

Revised to update the field of candidates for the supervisor of elections race.