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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Money tight on the campaign trail for Turner; Crist surges in grab for cash



There’s nothing like a porn scandal to put a crimp on donations if you’re a politician seeking another term in office.

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Rob Turner took in just $14,765 in the most recent reporting period, a third less than he raised the prior quarter despite ramping up his efforts in the face of new competition. And he wasn’t exactly going like gangbusters before now.

The sum includes at least $1,700 from employees in his office, $500 from his wife, and another nearly $2,000 from developers Don Phillips and Bing Kearney, or companies with which they are involved.

That in part had Democrat and former state Rep. Bob Henriquez crowing Friday that he was the top performer in quarterly fundraising for the race, though he declared about six weeks ago. He brought in $20,512, though he likely will have to raise much more to compete in a county-wide election.

“I am humbled by the groundswell of support in coming in first place from all the individual contributors who have donated to support my campaign,” said Henriquez, the prep football coach who served in the House for eight years ending in 2006. “Voters recognize that I will rethink, reinvent, and revitalize the Property Appraiser’s office.”

State Sen. Ronda Storms, who faces Turner in the August 14 Republican primary, shows $54,780 in her campaign account. But much of that, $45,000, was rolled over from the Senate reelection campaign she abandoned to run for property appraiser.

Storms put out her first mass mailer this week, a compendium of largely Tampa Bay Times headlines detailing Turner's admission to sending porn to his former human resources director, a woman he once dated and recently fired. The expense of the mailer is not included in Storms disclosure report.

She and Henriquez jumped into the race after reports of Turner’s pornographic correspondence broke, with the incumbent saying it was part of a mutual, non-work-hour exchange between him and the former director, Carolyn Filipppone. He has said she was fired for filing a false complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and she is now suing for wrongful termination.

Turner did not return a phone call Friday evening seeking comment about his campaign money raising.

He had raised just more than $32,000 in the three quarters before this one. At the time, he was facing challenges from two relative unknown candidates running without party affiliation, James DeMio and Rob Townsend, who have raised little money.

Two donors that contributed prior to the porn revelations asked Turner for their money back.

In other races:

Republican state Rep. Rich Glorioso reported another $10,000 in cash for his bid to become supervisor of elections, but it was all a loan to himself, taking his war chest to $64,260. That’s just about $2,000 more than Democrat Craig Latimer, seeking to replace his boss, current elections supervisor Earl Lennar. Latimer had his slowest quarter, raising $8,295. Information from Democrat Tom Scott, a former county commissioner, had not been reported on the supervisor's web site late Friday.

Democrat Kevin Beckner continued to haul in cash in his bid to retain his at-large District 6 County Commission seat, pulling in another $39,174 to take his total to $210,991. He has spent $45,814. Republican challenger and foster care advocate Margaret Iuculano had her slowest quarter, raising $7,701 to take her total to $53,994. Fellow Republican Don Kruse, who runs a beauty school, reported $6,430 in his first quarter, most of it from himself.

Republican Sharon Calvert is learning the challenge of raising money for a newcomer trying to take on an incumbent from her own party. Her third quarter of campaigning was her best, but she took in just $8,611 to take her total to $14,561 in seeking to knock off Victor Crist, a former state legislator, in the District 2 commission contest to represent much of northern Hillsborough. 

Crist amped up his action, raising $75,990, bringing his total to $107,128. He has already spent $46,448, five times as much as Calvert.

Republican incumbent Al Higginbotham brought in a modest $12,370 to boost his total to $115,315 in seeking another term in District 4, representing much of eastern and southern Hillsborough. He attracted a late opponent in Democrat Mark Nash, a former aide to Beckner, who reported $17,980 in a month of campaigning. But most of that -- $10,000 -- is money Nash lent his campaign.


[Last modified: Friday, July 13, 2012 10:40pm]


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