Jim Norman withdraws from candidates debate at Tampa Tiger Bay Club
After getting walloped in a local Republican straw poll Tuesday night, county commissioner candidate Jim Norman has withdrawn from a candidates debate at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club, where he was virtually certain to have been asked about ethical issues in his past.
The forum at lunchtime today was for candidates of both parties for the countywide district seat. Norman faces Tim Schock in a Republican primary.
Norman is attempting to restart his political career as a former state senator and county commissioner, which ended under an ethical cloud in 2012 involving a $400,000-plus loan from a political supporter to Norman’s wife to buy an Arkansas vacation home.
Norman confirmed his participation in the forum weeks ago.
George Sucarichi, a long-time political ally of Norman attending the meeting, said Norman had to skip the meeting to tend to his ailing father in Jacksonville, who has severe health problems that sometime flare up.
“When that happens, he hits the pavement,” Sucarichi said of Norman. He said Norman left for Jacksonville last night.
The Tiger Bay Club bills itself as an arena where members ask tough questions of politicians. At least one member, Tom Scherberger, said he had intended to ask Norman about his ethical history.
Tuesday night after a candidates forum by the Hillsborough County Republican Party, Norman lost 66-13 to Schock in a straw poll for party members.