Let's review. Mr. Reid filed November 16th of last year. If Commissioner Mercier were to have announced that he was not running, Mr. Reid would have been the leading Republican candidate, an advantage of some sort. But Paul filed last December 3rd, presumably to signal that the seat was his and he would be defending it. A month elapsed and during that time no other Republican stepped forward. If others had been planning to challenge Paul they probably would have been advised to do so as quickly as possible since waiting to challenge an incumbent just puts one further behind as the incumbent solidifies support.
By the time I entered the race on January 4th, Mr. Reid had withdrawn (I can't find a withdrawal date on the Supervisor of Elections website). Since no one challenged Paul in December (and Mr. Reid dropped out) I interpret that to mean that had I not stepped forward, Commissioner Mercier would have been unchallenged for a third term.
I decided to run in no small part because I believe Sarasota voters deserve choices on the general election ballot when it comes to selecting their county commissioners. And I was flummoxed during the two weeks I had no opposition because my quest to provide choice was possibly in jeopardy.
Now, if nothing else, all Sarasota voters will have choices here in the first District contest. I welcome Mr. Redding, just as I welcomed Ms. Mason and note that we all have careers focused on serving the community. In a little more than a week we'll know if any others are entering this race. This, I would argue, is more like it.
[And this blog may have scooped the local press.]