Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Politics

State House incumbent Betty Reed wins final term

TAMPA — Florida House incumbent Betty Reed won another term in the Legislature, and a slew of new faces moved on Tuesday to the general race for the House.

Hillsborough County's state House races brought a lot of unknowns to politics. Other than Reed, a Democrat representing Tampa's District 61, the field was packed with many who had never run campaigns.

Reed does not have a Republican challenger so she neatly sealed another victory Tuesday. Everyone else will go on to face opponents in November.

District 57

Jake Raburn, 27, scooped up the GOP candidacy for the new District 57 Florida House seat Tuesday night, winning 70 percent of the vote against opponent Brian Hollands, 45.

"We're very humbled and grateful," Raburn said from a celebration at Park Square Cellar in FishHawk Ranch. "It's an overwhelming feeling."

District 57 encompasses the southeastern corner of Hillsborough County and includes Riverview, FishHawk, Apollo Beach and Wimauma.

Raburn has worked for two years as a marketing specialist with the Florida Department of Citrus and is active in the agriculture community.

He said his top goal, if he wins the general election against Democrat Bruce Barnett, is to improve the business climate by reducing taxation and regulation.

"We'll be getting started tomorrow working on our campaign for November, utilizing our volunteers and support that we've generated so far to carry our conservative message forward and represent the people of District 57," Raburn said.

Elizabeth Behrman

District 59

By less than 200 votes, Republican Ross Spano won his party's primary Tuesday for the District 59 state House seat. The win came as a surprise, Spano said.

"Everything we heard going into tonight said we were probably a few points back," he said. He credits his grass roots campaign for the success.

Spano, who edged out three opponents, took nearly 40 percent of the vote to win the seat previously held by Rep. Rachel Burgin, who ran unsuccessfully in a state Senate race Tuesday. He competed against Joe Wicker, Betty Jo Tompkins and Michael Floyd.

Spano, 45, has 14 years of experience as a lawyer and owns a law firm. He also serves as a board member of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce.

He now faces Democrat Gail Gottlieb and write-in candidate Timothy Edward McCorkle.

District 59 covers Brandon, Riverview and Valrico.

Shelley Rossetter

District 61

Democratic incumbent Betty Reed handily won re-election Tuesday for her final term in the District 61 state House seat.

Reed, 71, took more than 80 percent of the vote in her precincts, some of which include new constituents as a result of redistricting.

"I am very grateful for their support and being able to serve in District 61, part of which is a new district for me," Reed said. "I'm just very humbled by the turnout and thankful for each and every vote."

The win ushers Reed, who was first elected to the seat in 2006, into her last two-year term in the House as there is no Republican candidate in the general election.

Reed is a mother of five and former director of career services for Remington College. She focused her time in the House on health care, education and social rights.

Challenger Tatiana Denson, 33, was a relatively unknown newcomer. The managed health care consultant campaigned on the need for a "generational change" and her connection to the people of the district.

District 61 encompasses the neighborhoods of Tampa Heights, Seminole Heights and Temple Crest.

Caitlin Johnston

District 63

Hillsborough middle school science teacher Mark Danish, 58, won the Democratic primary with 62 percent of the vote.

"We had a game plan, and our game plan was to get in touch with as many people as possible," he said Tuesday. "I'm very happy about the win."

A newcomer to politics, Danish ran a grass roots campaign, focusing less on raising money and more on canvassing North Tampa neighborhoods. He estimates he personally met with more than 3,000 people.

His platform was similar to that of his opponent, Tampa lawyer Z.J. Hafeez, 28. Both said they would focus on jobs, education and infrastructure if elected. They opposed the controversial "stand your ground" law and the state's emphasis on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

Their most apparent differences were age and experience. Hafeez had impressive education credentials. Danish spent 17 years instructing seventh-graders.

Danish faces Republican Shawn Harrison in November in a district that due to last year's redistricting leans more Democratic than when Harrison was elected two years ago.

"It's a good sign, but I'm not going to let it change what I have to do," he said, "because there's a lot of work to be done."

Jessica Vander Velde

Comments
Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

GIBSONTON – A new north-south road is coming to relieve traffic along U.S. 301, but making way for it promises some short-term traffic headaches for a South Shore region already stymied by congestion.The new road would run more than four miles...
Published: 10/16/18
Judge throws out Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against Trump

Judge throws out Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against Trump

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit from adult film actress Stormy Daniels that claimed President Donald Trump defamed her when he suggested she had lied about being threatened to keep quiet about their relationship. Federal District Judge ...
Published: 10/15/18
Candidates for Pinellas commission race pause to help with natural disasters

Candidates for Pinellas commission race pause to help with natural disasters

As Election Day nears, the candidates for Pinellas County Commission have shifted from campaigning to helping residents deal with the aftermath of natural disasters.Democrat Amy Kedron held a town hall meeting and helped draft policies for businesses...
Published: 10/15/18
Trump calls on blacks to ‘honor’ him with votes, then praises Confederate general Robert E. Lee

Trump calls on blacks to ‘honor’ him with votes, then praises Confederate general Robert E. Lee

LEBANON, Ohio - President Donald Trump praised the Confederate general Robert E. Lee whilst asking African-American voters to "honor us" by voting for him at an Ohio rally which included an unexpected and provocative monologue on America’s Civil War ...
Published: 10/13/18
Carlton: Playing politics when a hurricane’s coming? There oughta be a law

Carlton: Playing politics when a hurricane’s coming? There oughta be a law

Maybe Florida needs a new law. The Disaster Decency Bill, we could call it.Because given the current political divide wider than the Gulf of Mexico, we might need it to mandate what has long been a tradition of coming together in the face of disaster...
Published: 10/12/18
MSNBC's Katy Tur hosting live panel with USF students during 'Battleground College Tour'

MSNBC's Katy Tur hosting live panel with USF students during 'Battleground College Tour'

MSNBC's Katy Tur will speak to USF students during a live panel in front of USF's Marshall Student Center on Friday from 2 to 3 p.m.
Published: 10/12/18
Monica Lewinsky comes to Tampa on Monday to talk #MeToo, media scrutiny

Monica Lewinsky comes to Tampa on Monday to talk #MeToo, media scrutiny

TAMPA — Monica Lewinsky, an anti-bullying social activist best remembered as the White House intern whose affair nearly brought down a presidency, will be in Tampa on Monday to deliver the keynote address at the 17th annual Franci Golman Rudolph Scha...
Published: 10/11/18
Updated: 10/15/18
Retired Tampa cop gunning for Hillsborough sheriff’s job touts outsider status

Retired Tampa cop gunning for Hillsborough sheriff’s job touts outsider status

One day this summer Gary Pruitt delivered a two-minute pitch to Plant City voters, describing what could change if he were picked to be Hillsborough County’s next sheriff. Among his promises: He would diversify the ranks. But the uniformed competitor...
Published: 10/11/18
Joe Henderson: It's getting easier getting to Tampa but try getting around once you're here

Joe Henderson: It's getting easier getting to Tampa but try getting around once you're here

If you haven’t been to Tampa International Airport in a while, do yourself a favor and go. The place is sleek, well organized, and has the look of an airport you might expect to see in some exotic city – which, I guess, we can say Tampa...
Published: 10/11/18
Carlton: Job one in Straz campaign to be Tampa’s mayor? Show up

Carlton: Job one in Straz campaign to be Tampa’s mayor? Show up

Tampa philanthropist and gazillionaire David Straz has gotten lots of deserved accolades for his acts of generosity over the years.His name graces the downtown performing arts center in lights and adorns the sign at a manatee hospital at Tampa’s zoo ...
Published: 10/10/18