A man with one of the biggest names in The Villages has thrown a twist into the Sumter County Commission race.
Pete Wahl, probably best known as the founder of the annual Chili Cookoff in The Villages, has filed as a write-in candidate in the District 3 Sumter County Commission race. He is facing incumbent Don Burgess and Craig Estep in the Republican contest.
The winner of the Aug. 18 primary will have no opposition in the general election. The victor in the GOP primary will have a clear path to the $63,000 per year position.
“Everybody deserves a choice,” Wahl said when contacted by phone Monday by Villages-News.com.
Wahl was hired to head up The Villages Community Development Districts in 1995 when Florida’s Friendliest Hometown wasn’t much more than a trailer park that was starting to embark on site-built homes across U.S. Hwy. 27/441 from the Historic Side of the community. Prior to taking on that role – one that wasn’t exactly clearly defined at the time – Wahl had served as county administrator for Lake County and in Brevard County’s government.
The Village of De Allende resident serves as the chairman of Lake-Sumter State College. The longtime Rotarian is known for his charitable endeavors, including founding the annual Chili Cookoff.
In 2013, Wahl was named to serve as an aide to State Rep. Marlene O’Toole, also a Villager.