Burgin has another Democratic opponent; Murman weighs her options
Republican Rachel Burgin, who's seeking re-election to the District 56 state House seat, has another challenger. Democrat David Chalela, a Tampa attorney who specializes in foreclosure defense, filed this week to run for the post. Chalela, a 37-year-old Air Force veteran who moved to Tampa from Pasco County in 2006 when he opened his law office, said his top priorities are the unemployment and foreclosure crises and alternative energy. The three, he points out, are tied together: Unemployment leads to foreclosure, and investing in alternative energies like solar and tidal power will help create jobs to curb foreclosure. He also envisions turning investment in rail projects into a new industry for the state. "If we start building the rails and the cars and everything that goes along with it locally, we can start exporting those products to the rest of the country,” he said. Chalela will face Lewis Laricchia in the Democatric primary.
Burgin, meanwhile, has one Republican challenger, dentist Marc Johnson. But former state representative Sandy Murman, also a Republican, is weighing her options. She ran a poll to test her chances against Burgin. "It was very favorable towards me," Murman said, but she added she's not sure she wants to buck the party and run against a Republican incumbent. She also said she has reservations about representing a gerrymandered district that she could be drawn out of if a constitutional amendment on redistricting passes. "I want to be fair to all the people, especially the people in this community, that we don't get caught in that situation," she said. Does that mean Murman, who in recent years has been busy with development of the new Children's Museum set to open this year in downtown Tampa, will jump into the District 1 Hillsborough County Commission race? That's the seat Tampa City Council member John Dingfelder, a Democrat, is seeking. Murman said she'll make a decision next week.
Janet Zink, Times staff writer