LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Lee Co. Commissioner Ray Judah is endorsing a man, running against sitting commissioner Brian Bigelow. It's a rare move in local politics, and some say, it shows the strong ill will between the two republicans.
"I am indeed endorsing Cecil Pendergrass, because he wants to bring jobs to our economy, and he wants to protect the environment. Commissioner Bigelow does not," said Judah.
"I don't care about politics, I worry only about this community and what is right. Now, Cecil Pendergrass is right for this community. Commissioner Bigelow is not," added Judah.
Just 3 days ago, Judah lost his patience with Bigelow during an open meeting, and got into a near shouting match with him. Judah says he also because upset Tuesday, when Bigelow opposed a resolution, in favor of buying farm-land to help restore the Everglades. "It breaks my heart to have this commissioner, running for re-election, going around saying he is in favor of the environment. He is not!', said Judah.
Bigelow is facing Pendergrass and 2 other republicans in the primary Aug. 24. Pendergrass retired from the Police Benevolent Association. He was very pleased to get the endorsement of one of the area's most influential political figures.
"I agree, Bigelow has not done enough to bring business here and create jobs. He also has not done enough to protect our environment and make sure the Caloosahatchee is protected," said Pendergrass.
WINK News left several messages with the office of Commissioner Bigelow. We did not get a response.
Sonny Haas, who is running for Bigelow's seat, said the endorsement could backfire. "The voters may not like this, they may want to decide on their own, instead of having the good old boy network decide for them," Haas told WINK.
To read minutes from commissioner's meetings, go to http://minutes.leeclerk.org/displayminutes.php