Times columnist Ernest Hooper offers his analysis of key races for the Aug. 24 primary.
These are not endorsements.
SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 4
Incumbent Jennifer Faliero remains confident even though this is clearly the strongest challenge she has faced since first winning election in 2002.
Well-reported personal challenges make her appear vulnerable and explain why she has drawn three opponents. Stacy White, a local pharmacist, Kirk Faryniasz, a retired Air Force veteran and a rare candidate from the South Shore area, both have strong credentials.
But it's former principal Richard Bartels who appears to be mounting the biggest challenge, having received an endorsement from the teachers union.
Faliero says while she doesn't have the endorsement of union leadership, she has the support of rank and file teachers. If she's right, she likely will end up in a runoff with Bartels where she will have to summon every vote to win re-election.
school board, district 6
Of the three opponents challenging incumbent April Griffin — Terry Kemple, Sally Harris and Ben Fink — Kemple may have the best chance of an upset. His work as a Christian conservative activist gives him name recognition, but his self-billing as a consensus builder shouldn't hide his previous stances against gay marriage, evolution and the separation of church and state.
Meanwhile, Griffin has proved to be a credible voice. She refuses to rubber-stamp staff recommendations and rightly advocates for technical and vocational education. In the end, she should triumph, but it will take a runoff.
SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 2
So why do we care about what's largely known as the board's South Tampa seat? Well, not only will the winner of this race represent the South Shore area west of U.S. 301, but the district boundary also runs east and includes Brandon High.
Olson says she has put a lot of miles on her car getting out this way, but it's her high name recognition in the city that will likely carry her to victory. Opponent Frank Hernandez has to hope this foray will raise his profile and set the stage for a future run.