USF St. Petersburg CEO Bill Heller Jumps in HD 52 Race
After several weeks of rumors, Bill Heller (see photo) has thrown his hat in the ring as a Democratic candidate for House District 52 in St. Petersburg. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Frank Farkas, who is running to succeed Jim Sebesta in the state senate. The seat is considered highly competitive. George Bush won it with 52% of the vote, but Betty Castor won it with 55%.
Bill Heller, who, as CEO, led the University of South Florida St. Petersburg through a massive expansion, is known for his bipartisan politics - having supported and donated to candidates of both parties. Heller was named USF St. Petersburg's dean in 1992, and in 10 years oversaw an enrollment boom and massive expansion into the downtown while championing movements toward campus independence.
He will face 2004 nominee Liz McCallum in the primary. He has already earned the endorsement of popular state representative and candidate for the state senate, Charlie Justice. Rep. Justice is an academic adviser at USF St. Pete.