Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dawn Thompson leaves House District 51 race; Victoria Torres jumps in

SEMINOLE — The race for state House District 51 should be interesting if the zigs and zags of the past week are any indication.

First, Republican candidate Dawn Thompson dropped out of the race. That left St. Petersburg business owner Larry Ahern as the lone Republican challenger to Democratic incumbent Janet Long.

Then, in the final hours of qualifying, Victoria A. Torres paid the qualifying fee to make it a three-way race. Torres, 44, is an Orlando resident who is running on the tea party ticket.

State law requires a representative to live in the district he/she represents, but "they have to live in the district as of election day," said Jennifer Davis, spokeswoman for the Florida Division of Elections.

That means Torres can live in Orlando until Nov. 2.

"This is America. That's part of a democracy. Everyone's free to jump in and run," Long said.

Neither Ahern nor Torres could be reached Friday for comment.

The race for District 51 has been controversial from early on. Thompson, 42, was accused before qualifying of distributing campaign fliers and buttons in violation of a state law that requires candidates to have a treasurer and bank account before spending money. Last week, the state Elections Commission cleared Thompson of wrongdoing.

Thompson said she was relieved at the decision. But she withdrew anyway for the good of the party and threw her support to Ahern. Ahern, 55, owns a swimming pool remodeling and commercial fountain business, according to his campaign website, He is married and has three daughters.

"I'm running for state representative because Florida needs leaders who will champion rights that empower the individual and limit government," according to the site. "As a small business owner in this community for 30 years, I've created jobs and balanced budgets. I want to bring common sense and business practices to Tallahassee to get Florida back on track."

As of March 31, he had raised $15,581.12.

Long, 65, is a former member of the Seminole City Council who has served in the Florida House since 2006. She touts her independence, saying, "I'm not defined by an R or a D after my name. … Nobody tells me what to do or how to vote. I can vote my conscience."

Florida, she said, has many challenges and requires hard work to meet them. Serving in the Legislature requires the passion that Long says she has in abundance. She is married and has three children and three grandchildren. Long had raised $85,660 as of March 31. Her website is

District 51 includes Seminole and South Pasadena, and parts of Pinellas Park, Largo and the unincorporated Lealman area.

Reach Anne Lindberg at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

Dawn Thompson leaves House District 51 race; Victoria Torres jumps in 06/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 18, 2010 4:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Editorial: Trump owes apology to fallen soldier's Miami family


    There is no more sacred, solemn role for a president than to comfort grieving family members of soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. Those calls cannot be easy, and some presidents are better at it than others. Yet President Donald Trump and his administration continue to engage in a …

  2. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and ... whom else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  3. Hillsborough teachers get a hard no on scheduled pay raises


    The Hillsborough County School District cannot afford to advance teachers to their next year's pay levels, employee relations manager Mark West told the union at Monday afternoon's bargaining session.

    This might be the last teacher bargaining session in Hillsborough for awhile. Although the two sides are not officially at an impasse, the district says it cannot pay teachers their scheduled raises.
  4. Editorial: A neighborhood under attack unites


    Three murders in two weeks understandably have Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood on edge. But Tampa police and residents are working together to find the killer and are connecting in ways that will strengthen the community in the long run. This is the best reaction to the tragedy of the three deaths, and it should …

    Seminole Heights residents came together in a candlelight vigil Sunday night to pay respect to the families and to demonstrate that they will not be cowed into staying indoors.
  5. Students at middle school pretend to rape black classmates on Snapchat


    The Snapchat had just about every offensive topic the middle school students could cram into a video clip: race-based simulated sexual assaults, profanity-laced slurs and repulsive language that shocked whoever the intended audience was - and, eventually, many more people.

    Students at a Virginia middle school pretended to rape other students on video, which was shared on Snapchat. Reports say white members of a football team enacted the rape scenes while in the locker room. This photo of a standard locker room is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.