TAMPA — Hillsborough County Commission candidate Linda Saul-Sena has given her campaign consultant, Mitch Kates, the boot.
He accepted a job working as campaign manager for supporters of Amendment 4 on the November ballot, Saul-Sena said.
Saul-Sena, a Democrat, is a staunch opponent of the measure, which would put all local comprehensive plan changes before voters in referendums.
She said she was bothered that Kates decided to work for passage of Amendment 4, and further annoyed that he didn't tell her about it.
Saul-Sena said Kates knows how strongly she objects to the proposed amendment.
"I don't think this proposal is the best way to address the frustration with bad planning and growth management decisions. There are better ways to do it. For example, electing better people," she said.
Kates is a St. Petersburg-based Democratic campaign consultant who helped orchestrate wins for Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner and state Sen. Charlie Justice.
Saul-Sena said her dismissal of Kates had nothing to do with the court battle she became embroiled in after missing a deadline to file paperwork indicating her intention to resign from Tampa City Council to run for the commission.
A Republican Party activist sued, saying Saul-Sena didn't properly qualify for the ballot. A judge ruled in Saul-Sena's favor last month, but the case is now under appeal.
Saul-Sena said if she had blamed Kates for the paperwork mistake, she would have fired him before now.
She is running for the at-large District 5 commission seat against Republican Ken Hagan, a sitting county commissioner, and Jim Hosler, who is running with no party affiliation.
Regarding his falling out with Saul-Sena, Kates declined to comment other than to say: "Linda is an awesome candidate and I hope she wins. It's a very important race for Hillsborough County."