Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Politics

Hillsborough's high-profile political races are suddenly low-budget

TAMPA — Many of them have run for office before.

But the candidates in two of Hillsborough County's most hotly contested political races have not exactly been setting records in raising cash for their campaigns.

The leading hopefuls in the race for supervisor of elections and property appraiser have brought in just more than $300,000 among the four of them. That was with barely a month to go before the election.

"Nobody will have enough in our race to win it, but no one will have too little to lose it," said former state Rep. Bob Henriquez, a Democrat competing against three others in the race for property appraiser.

That may be a hopeful assessment.

Henriquez had raised just $52,509 by the end of the last reporting period on Sept. 28. He had spent about half of it.

The good news for Henriquez: His chief rival, Republican state Sen. Ronda Storms, has raised $72,318. She rolled over two-thirds of that — $45,000 — from a Senate re-election campaign.

Both got in the race late after revelations that incumbent Republican Rob Turner had sent porn to his human resources director. Storms dispatched Turner in the Republican primary, spending much of her money in that contest.

Storms did not return a message seeking comment.

Of the two other candidates in the race, no-party candidate James DeMio has lent his campaign almost all of the approximately $30,000 in his war chest. Another no-party candidate, Rob Townsend, supplied his campaign $6,400, most of which he paid to qualify to run.

• • •

In another countywide race, for elections supervisor, Republican state Rep. Rich Glorioso has tapped some of his Tallahassee connections, as well as supporters from his Plant City-centered district, to help boost his campaign funding. Still, he had raised just $80,255.

He said he's now seeing more small-dollar donations from around Hillsborough County, which he takes as a positive sign.

"I like the little ones because they are people who are going to vote for you," Glorioso said. "We've got a good grass-roots effort going. You never have enough to do what you would like to do and in some cases what you would need to do. We're pleased with where we are and are moving in the right direction."

Craig Latimer, the Democrat in the race and deputy to current supervisor Earl Lennard, had to survive a primary against veteran politician Tom Scott. He had raised $96,898 and spent nearly two-thirds of it.

Latimer said he's pleased about receiving roughly 600 contributions, which he takes as validation that he has helped fix an office that had been mired in controversy.

"I think it sends a really strong message that people are extremely satisfied with how we've turned that office around," he said.

• • •

Still, the numbers in those races are modest compared with the two County Commission contests.

In the District 6 at-large County Commission race, Democratic incumbent Kevin Beckner had raised $275,769 as he faces a challenge from Republican Margaret Iuculano. A first-time candidate, the tea party-leaning Iuculano had raised $70,701 and had less than $10,000 of that left after a primary contest.

In the District 4 County Commission race to represent eastern and southern Hillsborough, incumbent Republican Al Higginbotham took in $162,296 and spent a bit more than one-third of it.

He faces a challenge from first-time candidate Mark Nash, who declared late and has raised $44,228, lending $10,000 to his election cause. No-party candidate Joy Green raised $8,054, most of it a loan to her campaign.

• • •

Henriquez has said his goal was to reach at least $120,000 to do what he feels he needs to do to have a decent shot in the property appraiser race. That includes buying signs to sending mail pieces.

His first major mail piece, contrasting himself with Storms in an unflattering way to her, was paid for by the Florida Democratic Party.

He said he has had a robust take in the most recent period, which ran through Friday, but is not due to be reported until the end of this week. He said he thinks he'll come close to his target.

"Momentum is building for us," he said. "Especially since the major endorsements started rolling in. The wind is really starting to be at our back."

Bill Varian can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3387.

Comments
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18
Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another facility intended for detaining undocumented children is reportedly in the works for Houston as the number of children separated from their parents at the border continues to swell.Southwest Key Programs, the same contractor that operates the...
Published: 06/19/18
Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

ST. PETERSBURG — They appear to rise out of nowhere — two enormous, reclaimed-water tanks with an artist’s white clouds scudding across a blue background.A closer view reveals silhouettes of a lone coyote howling at the sky, mangrove islands, oak, cy...
Published: 06/19/18
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Published: 06/17/18