Commission candidate first in Hillsborough to qualify
In an early sign of campaign organization, a candidate for Hillsborough County Commission has become the first local office seeker to qualify for next year's election.
Rick Cochran, a Republican and retiring Tampa police detective, turned in more than 2,200 petition signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot by that means for the District 4 Commission race to represent southern and eastern Hillsborough. The official qualifying period is not for another six months, June 16-20.
Qualifying by petition is a valuable exercise for first-time candidates in particular, forcing them and their supporters to introduce themselves to thousands of potential voters. But it takes considerable time and effort and many candidates take the easy way and qualify by paying a fee.
"First and foremost, I'm committed to working hard, which is how I've lead my police career and how I plan to work as a county commissioner," Cochran said of the effort.
Cochran faces fellow Republicans Janet Lee Dougherty and Stacy White in the Republican primary. As it stands now, the victor would face Democrat Donna Lee Fore.