Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Politics

Amid porn scandal, fundraising slows down for Hillsborough property appraiser

TAMPA — 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, one-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, but will likely have to raise much more to compete in a countywide 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," Henriquez said. "Voters recognize that I will rethink, reinvent, and revitalize the property appraiser's office."

State Sen. Ronda Storms, who faces Turner in the Aug. 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, after-hours exchange with the former director, Carolyn Filippone. 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 seeking comment. He had raised just more than $32,000 in the three prior quarters. At the time, he was facing challenges from two relative unknown candidates running without party affiliation, James DeMio and Rob Townsend.

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

In other races, Republican state Rep. Rich Glorioso reported another $10,000 for his bid to become elections supervisor, but it was all a loan to himself. The addition swelled 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 Lennard. Latimer had his slowest quarter, raising $8,295.

Democrat Kevin Beckner continued to haul in cash in his bid to retain the at-large District 6 County Commission seat. He pulled in $39,174, taking his total to $210,991. Republican challenger and foster care advocate Margaret Iuculano had her slowest quarter, raising $7,701 to take her total to $53,994.

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. She is seeking to oust Victor Crist for the District 2 commission seat representing much of north Hillsborough.

Crist ramped up his action, raising $75,990 and bringing his total to $107,128.

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