Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough GOP hopefuls seek eye of power players

TAMPA — In the wake of state Rep. Trey Traviesa's sudden decision not to seek re-election, two prominent developers are exercising an influential role behind the scenes in deciding who fills his empty spot on the ballot.

Hillsborough Republican Party officials meet today to consider who gets the nod, but would-be candidates have been looking beyond the two party leaders who will make that formal decision.

They're seeking the blessing of Bing Kearney and Don Phillips, two power players in the local development scene.

Phillips and Kearney are getting resumes, phone calls and visits from those seeking to replace Traviesa, who announced Tuesday he wouldn't seek re-election in District 56.

Phillips said Thursday night that he has spoken with a "few" of the candidates, but would not specify how many.

"I'm involved in the process, sure," said Phillips, who moved to Tampa from North Carolina about five years ago and is managing director of a company with Bayshore and Westshore Boulevard condo projects. "But I'm mostly interested in good leadership in the community."

One candidate, Mark Proctor, said he met with Phillips for 45 minutes Wednesday to discuss his governing philosophy — and to listen to Phillips' views. He said the meeting went well, but he left not knowing whether he had Phillips' backing.

He gave his resume to Phillips and Kearney, whom he didn't meet with but said he has known for 20 years. Kearney could not be reached for comment.

The only other two people to get his resume were David Storck and Carol Carter. Storck and Carter sit on the committee, and are the only two votes that will decide the nomination. A third member is out of the country.

If Phillips and Kearney don't vote, why seek their support?

"If I get selected, I would immediately need to raise money," Proctor said. "They contribute to candidates and to the party."

Proctor, an east Hillsborough Republican real estate broker and political consultant, said the decision will be Storck's and Carter's — to a point.

"You'd have to believe that (Strock and Carter) would consult with other people," he said.

The winner faces Lewis Laricchia, a relatively unknown Valrico Democrat. Many think the yet-to-be chosen GOP candidate will have an edge to win the predominantly conservative suburban district.

Because Traviesa dropped out after the June 21 qualifying deadline, his replacement won't be chosen by the district's 40,000 GOP voters, but the two party officers.

Phillips downplayed whatever influence he wields.

"When they meet with me, it's the same as when you're lobbying for a better job," he said. "You do that by getting advocates who support you."

Hillsborough GOP hopefuls seek eye of power players 08/15/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 15, 2008 10:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump

    Blogs

    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  2. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP Chris Archer has made a name for himself on the mound. And at a time when some athletes work to steer clear of any issue with a tint of controversy for fear it could damage their brand, Archer has used that platform to weigh in on some topical social, political and news events.

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  3. Candidates for governor get emotional talking about their gay siblings

    Blogs

    Occasionally in today's hyper-rehearsed and contrived world of political campaigns one witnesses moments that are so honest and real, we can't help but understand we're not just listening to another politician give his or her stump speech; We're listening to a human being who understands personal pain at least as well …

    Chris King talking to reporters in Tallahassee
  4. Southern heritage groups sue to keep Confederate monument at old Tampa courthouse

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Groups that say they support Southern heritage filed a lawsuit late Friday trying to halt the removal of a Confederate statue from downtown Tampa.

    Workers place boards around a Confederate monument on Hillsborough County property in Tampa on Thursday, August 17, 2017. It took 24 hours to raise private funds in order to move the statue from its current location.
  5. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI

    Bucs

    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.