Sharpe suspends Congressional campaign
Republican Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe said Friday he is suspending his bid to unseat Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor.
Sharpe said new political district boundaries, which for District 11 are close to the old boundaries, make it "nearly impossible" for a Republican to have a chance of beating a Democrat. So he said he is tabling his campaign until the courts have an opportunity to hear challenges to the new district boundaries.
"There are lots of people who want to see a competitive race," Sharpe said Friday morning on Chris Ingram's Irreverent View political talk radio program. "But when you look at the maps, it is nearly impossible to have a competitive race."
Legislators finalized political district boundaries for themselves and Congress last week. While they appear to maintain a Republican advantage by the way they bunch voters in many parts of the state, some districts, like Castor's, continue to favor Democratic candidates. The seat takes in much of Tampa, and part of South St. Petersburg, with a high concentration of Democratic voters.
By suspending his campaign rather than ending it, Sharpe said he can keep his campaign account open while continuing to focus on issues important to his role as a county commissioner.