TAMPA — Never mind the violations of state elections law, the guilty verdict in a sexual discrimination lawsuit and the squabbling with fellow county commissioners over paying to defend him in that lawsuit.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White drew at least 200 people to his re-election campaign kickoff event on Wednesday at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.
"I couldn't be more pleased," White said after making formal remarks to the crowd. "It exceeded my wildest expectations. I'm blessed to have so many people that support and believe in me."
White backers said he has been treated unfairly by the media and has represented his constituents well.
"He's a good man," said Mario Tamargo, who works for the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission.
And what about the sexual discrimination case?
"I have no clue exactly what happened there," Tamargo said. "It doesn't mean he's not a good commissioner."
Others at the event included campaign consultant Vic DiMaio, community activist Michelle Patty and lawyer Vin Marchetti.
White will face Valerie Goddard and Les Miller in this year's Democratic primary for the District 3 seat representing central and East Tampa. So far, White has far outraised his two opponents.
Goddard has collected about $9,000 in cash and in-kind contributions; Miller has pulled in about $34,000, and White has raked in $89,000.