Sharpe announces he will challenge Castor for Congress
Saying times of crisis are times of opportunity, Republican Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe announced his intention to challenge Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor in the 2012 election.
"We're in a moment of peril," Sharpe said at the Buddy Brew Coffee house in South Tampa Monday. "The country is in crisis. I feel a duty and obligation to help deal with this crisis."
In announcing, Sharpe, 51, will make his fourth bid for the District 11 House seat. In 1992, 1994 and 1996, he campaigned against long-time Democrat Sam Gibbons, and then Jim Davis when the seat became open. He came up short in each race for the district, which is centered around South and West Tampa and is tilted heavily toward registered Democratic voters. But he showed himself each time to be a capable money-raiser.
While political district boundaries have historically favored Democrats in District 11, state legislators will be redrawing Congressional district lines. That could result in a further concentration of Democratic voters or a dilution. The exercise may not be complete until early next year, and Sharpe said he will stay in the race no matter how the lines are redrawn.
Sharpe said he does not intend to step down as a commissioner, and the law does not require that he do so. His current term runs into 2014.