A day after longtime elections supervisor Bob Sweat announced his retirement, the first candidate has stepped up to run to replace him at the Manatee County elections office.
First-time political candidate Rodney P. Smithley, owner of Smokey's Glass, said he has thought about running for elections supervisor since Sweat's predecessor, Jerome Davis, was in office. He said he would be a "hands-on" supervisor, but that he doesn't anticipate wanting to make too many changes to the elections office.
"I don't think you need to spend money when you can fix what you have," said Smithley, who filed on Monday to run as a Republican. "I just think I can do a good job there.
"I can get out and meet with people ... and do the job."
Smithley, 58, has owned Smokey's for about 40 years, doing various types of custom glass work. The company has had as many as four employees, but Smithley said he is currently the only employee.
Previously, he says he was one of the top car restorers in the nation for about 30 years.
"I'm a hands-on guy," said Smithley, a graduate of Southeast High School.
"I don't do anything half-butt."
Sweat, in office since 1985, announced Monday he would not run for re-election for an eighth term.
Sweat told the Bradenton Herald on Monday that he was encouraging his longtime assistant Nancy Bignell to run to succeed him.