Count State Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, among those keeping an eye on newly drawn Congressional districts. The freshman lawmaker said Friday he may challenge Democrat Kathy Castor if his New Tampa home is drawn into District 11, which she now represents. Republican Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe is also considering a run for that seat. He's set to make an announcement on Monday.
"I don’t think anybody can run for anything right now because we don't know what district we live in," Harrison said. "I am interested in that possibility and am keeping that option open. But nothing's more definite than that."
Harrison now lives in Republican Congressman
Gus Bilirakis' district, and said he definitely won't challenge him in 2012.
"We’ve got to let the redistricting process run its course," he said. "I have made no decision on anything other than I'm running for re-election right now."
Of course, legally, Harrison can run for Castor's district even if he doesn't live in it. But Harrison said he has no interest in being a "textbook carpetbagger." (Note: He did have to move into his legislative district after election.)
He said he enjoys being in the Florida Legislature, but has always been interested in running for Congress.
"I feel like I have the background and experience, especially in today's economy," said Harrison, who has a law practice in Tampa. "I know what it takes to make a budget and pay people and grow a business. The timing is right because of the economic malaise the country is in."
Meanwhile, Harrison is getting ready to sponsor a bill that would give a property tax exemption to surviving spouses of first-responders killed on the job.
"It makes a lot of sense to offer all the protection we can to surviving spouses, families of men and women who are killed in the line of duty," he said. "We already extend the protection to members of military families and the jobs of police officers and firefighters are every bit as dangerous sometimes.”