Saturday, April 21, 2018
Politics

Hillsborough candidates fundraising swells as election draws near

The last couple of weeks were lucrative for the campaigns of a few of the people seeking office in Hillsborough County, elections records show.

Democratic property appraiser hopeful Bob Henriquez led the pack by hauling in $77,095 in the final two weeks of campaigning. He was boosted by a fundraiser at the beginning of the period held by the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, which brought in more than $25,000, according to the campaign. The Florida Democratic Party chipped in $22,500.

The late money grab took his campaign total to $147,214 and he still had just more than $12,000 banked as of Thursday. He's poured the money into fliers, radio ads and robocalls from former Gov. Charlie Crist.

The question for Henriquez is whether it's too little, too late. He faces Republican state Sen. Ronda Storms, a conservative firebrand who is well-known to even casual political observers. But her vocal positions on social issues as a senator and former county commissioner have angered many liberal-minded voters. Henriquez has focused much of his pitch to independents.

Storms raised $4,895 in the final reporting period, most of that from the Hillsborough County Republican Party, which also contributed $8,000 worth of phone banking as an in-kind contribution. In total, she raised $83,281, a low sum considering that $45,000 came from her Senate re-election campaign, which she left to run for appraiser.

Like Henriquez, Storms joined the race after the Tampa Bay Times revealed in May that incumbent Property Appraiser Rob Turner had sent pornographic emails to his human resources director. Storms trounced him in the primary but had to spend a good bit of her money to do so.

Two no-party candidates, James DeMio and Rob Townsend, have not raised more than token money in the past month or more.

In other races:

•Republican Supervisor of Elections hopeful and current state Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, benefited from $50,000 donated to his campaign from the Hillsborough County Republican Party. He also got several maximum $500 donations from Tallahassee-based committees of continuous existence. In the final two weeks, he raised $60,700 to take his total for the campaign to $150,085. He didn't face a primary.

Democratic candidate Craig Latimer, current deputy to retiring elections supervisor Earl Lennard, brought in $7,240, increasing his total to $125,801. He did not get a late cash infusion from his party, but he has taken donations from employees in the office, causing a furor among his opponent's supporters. He faced a challenger in the primary. Latimer still had just more than $10,000 left over at the end of the reporting period.

Meanwhile, the two incumbents for Hillsborough County Commission still facing opposition were taking no chances.

•District 4 commissioner Al Higginbotham, a Republican representing eastern Hillsborough, took in $37,170, helped in part by $20,000 from the local party chapter. In all, he raised $217,451 and still had nearly $20,000 left over as of Thursday. Democratic challenger Mark Nash, a former aide to commissioner Kevin Beckner, raised $5,485 to take his total for the campaign to $51,483.

•Beckner, the District 6 at-large commissioner, brought in $19,532 to take his total to $316,960. He had about $35,000 left over as of Thursday. Republican challenger Margaret Iuculano raised $7,620 in the final two weeks, with the help of $5,000 from the local party. Through her campaign, she raised $79,871 and had more than $13,000 on hand as of Thursday.

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