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The Villages
Saturday, June 12, 2021

Sumter County Commission candidates open campaign accounts

Andrew Bilardello
Andrew Bilardello

Two Sumter County Commission candidates have opened campaign accounts.

Village of Fenney resident Andrew Bilardello and Sumter County Sheriff’s Office employee Billy Bowles Jr. have prefiled to run for commission seats.

Bilardello, who is running for the District 2 seat currently held by Doug Gilpin, opened his campaign treasury with a $1,000 loan from himself. The Community Development District 12 supervisor has spent $192.87 on petition cards at Ford Press in Leesburg. He also spent $35.99 on business cards from Vista Print based in Massachusetts.

Billy Bowles
Billy Bowles Jr.

Bowles, of Webster, is running for the District 4 commission seat currently held by Commissioner Garry Breeden. Bowles knocked on Breeden’s door as a courtesy to inform him of his candidacy.

Bowles opened his campaign account with a $500 contribution from fellow candidate Bilardello. Bowles also collected a $1,000 donation from Tommy Word of Wildwood as well as a $100 donation from Anita Button, also of the sheriff’s office. Bowles donated $50 to his campaign.

He spent $64.20 for petition cards at A Plus Printing in Leesburg, $34.16 for T-shirts at Michael’s Department Store in Clermont and $60 on graphic design artist from Umatilla.

In the 2020 race, Sumter Commission incumbents Don Burgess, Al Butler and Steve Printz raked in more than $180,000 in campaign cash, much of it from companies with ties to the Developer of The Villages. They spent the money on direct mail through a Tallahassee consultant and in advertising in The Villages Daily Sun. They were soundly defeated by newcomers Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search, who were significantly out raised.

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