Commission incumbents no-shows at forum
TAMPA -- The two Hillsborough County Commission incumbents facing primary opponents in their reelection bids were predictably no-shows at one of the regular forums of the campaign season.
Neither District 2 Commissioner Ken Hagan nor District 6 Commissioner Brian Blair graced the luncheon crowd of about 135 people at the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa Friday. Hagan said he couldn't make it and Blair declined an invite, club leader and Republican politican consultant April Schiff told the group.
At this point it would be a surprise if either showed up at a forum. Skipping forums has become almost pro-forma for many local candidates, with Blair and Hagan being among the worst offenders. Both showed for a Republican Executive Committee forum, and make it to some of the churches, but that's about it.
Many candidates view forums as a waste of time, compared to spending that time walking through neighborhoods and knocking on doors of frequent voters. Forum crowds are often small, Friday's being an exception, and attendees are generally viewed to have made up their minds.
-- Bill Varian, Times Staff Writer