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Bigelow to step down, vie for clerk seat

By Staff | May 12, 2012

District 2 Lee County Commissioner Brian Bigelow announced Thursday he will step down from his position after six years on the job.

And not only has the line formed for his current job, but also for the job he intends to take.

It is Bigelow’s intention to run for Clerk of Courts, a position that has been held by Charlie Green since 1984. Green has said he is retiring in November.

Bigelow, who followed in his father’s footsteps as county commissioner, submitted paperwork Thursday to Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington of his intention to resign “effective on the date prescribed by Section 99.012 of Florida Statutes.”

The date was not specified, therefore the resignation – or “resign to run” letter – is not considered complete, according to Jo Ann Beaumont, administrative assistant to Harrington.

Bigelow has until May 25 – 10 business days before the June 8 deadline – to submit his revised letter.

Bigelow has two years remaining on his four-year term, and it is believed he will serve until Nov. 20, when his successor is sworn in, so that the election process can be carried out, Beaumont said.

Bigelow was out of town for meetings and not available for comment.

Going forward, Beaumont said there are already two people who have opened accounts to run for that seat, Beaumont said; Cecil Pendergrass and Warren Wright, both Republicans.

They will run in an Aug. 14 primary, with the winner moving on to the general election.

“I filed last week because I heard the rumor Brian would resign,” said Pendergrass, who ran against Bigelow in 2010 and had plans to run in 2014. “I applaud the effort to better himself. We have the same objectives. We just apply it different.

“You gotta do what you gotta do. He thinks there’s a place for him as Clerk of the Court,” Wright said. “You have to run your race. If there’s an opening, I’m ready to fill it.”

The winner of the general election would serve only the remainder of Bigelow’s term.

As for Bigelow’s intention to run for the office, Linda Doggett, chief operating officer at the Lee County Clerk of the Courts office, will most likely be his opponent.

Doggett, who filed her paperwork in January and who already is campaigning, has gotten an endorsement from Green and said she is confident she can prevail come November.

“Him running for office will make me work harder and cherish the victory more,” Doggett said. “But I feel strongly the voters can’t see (the clerk’s office) as something that needs fixing.”

Green was “shocked” by Bigelow’s intentions.

“I’m surprised he would leave his term. Everybody has the right to run for office,” Green said. “But when you sign up for a term, you should do it. He has his reasons.”