A Village of Fenney resident and a sheriff’s office employee have prefiled to run for seats in 2022 on the Sumter County Commission.
Andrew Bilardello, who currently serves as an elected supervisor in Community Development District 12 in The Villages, has prefiled to run in Sumter County Commission District 2, a seat currently held by longtime Commissioner Doug Gilpin.
Bilardello, who is active in local GOP politics, is set to run for the county commission as a Republican.
Bilardello made headlines earlier this year when he proposed the idea of forming a second Project Wide Advisory Committee specifically for CDDs south of State Road 44.
Billy Bowles Jr., a Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach team member, has prefiled to run for the District 4 commission seat currently held by Commissioner Garry Breeden.
Bowles, a resident of Webster, is also running as a Republican.
Gilpin and Breeden, both Republicans, have not publicly expressed whether they would be seeking re-election in 2022. But Bilardello and Bowles would certainly have reached a decision to run after consulting with The Villages Vice President for Community Gary Lester, the political fixer for the Morse family.
The prefiling of candidacies by Bilardello and Bowles would appear to signal a changing of the guard and the realization that candidates Gilpin and Breeden may have too much ugly baggage to mount re-election campaigns.
The Villages is still smarting from the 2020 victories of Commissioners Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search, insurgents who ousted three candidates who did not survive the challenges, despite huge amounts of money spent by The Villages’ surrogates to try to keep them in office.
The Villages campaigned hard against a move to increase impact fees in Sumter County. Despite those efforts, the commission voted to raise impact fees.