Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Incumbent's legal troubles focus of District 3 race

TAMPA — Not many political incumbents would appear more vulnerable this election season than Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White.

White, 45, has weathered troubling accusations throughout his political career, first as a Tampa City Council member and more recently as a commissioner. His wounds are particularly fresh right now, coming off a federal civil trial late last year when a jury found he sexually discriminated against a former aide.

Yet here he stands, asking for understanding and a new term.

"I believe everyone in this room knows some of the controversy that I've been involved in and have been able to see through the minutiae and continued to support me," White said during a February campaign kickoff that drew 200 people.

He says he deserves another term to continue fighting for residents in his district, which covers much of central Tampa and part of eastern Hillsborough County.

White faces two challengers in the August Democratic primary, former state legislator Les Miller and first-time candidate Valerie Goddard, chair of the Children's Board of Hillsborough County. Despite White's seeming vulnerability, both have had trouble raising the money necessary to run a viable campaign against him.

Miller, 59, spent 14 years in the Legislature, six in the Senate the rest in the House. He rose to party leadership posts in both chambers, though through most of his tenure Democrats were in a decided minority.

As a result, it was a challenge for him to win approval of major initiatives, though he does claim credit for several bits of legislation aimed at helping minorities advance in the business and health care arenas.

Miller has been hesitant to mention White's troubles directly, though he says he was encouraged to run for commission by people seeking an alternative to the incumbent.

"I'm running for that seat because the issues of this district have been lacking (in attention) for the past four years," said Miller, who works as a student ombudsman at the University of South Florida. "They're not even on the back burner; they're off the stove."

Goddard, 45, similarly says the accusations White has confronted during his time in office have prevented him from effectively representing his constituents. She said she hears from residents who try to get issues of concern brought to White's office but can't get a return phone call.

"Folks are angry and frustrated thinking that the time spent on these issues have taken time from what's really important," she said. "They want people who represent them that can focus their attention on the issues that matter to them."

She said she intends to bring creative solutions to figuring out ways the county can continue providing quality services to residents in lean budgetary times. She said she has done that as chair of the Children's Board and previously as executive director of Helping Hands Day Nursery.

The winner faces write-in candidate Dwight Anthony Bolden in the general election.

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

Incumbent's legal troubles focus of District 3 race 07/15/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 7:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Bruno Mars' charisma glitters like gold at Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Nothing in this world should be as easy as Bruno Mars makes it look. Not singing, not dancing, and certainly not playfully seducing more than 17,500 starry-eyed Tampa fans with one of pop music’s best bands at your back.

    Bruno Mars performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Oct. 19, 2017.
  2. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  3. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88


    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  4. Another suspicious death in Tampa's Seminole Heights


    TAMPA — Police were investigating what they were calling a suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night, near the location of two fatal shootings last week.

    Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan addresses reporters about the latest suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL | Times]
  5. Duke tops preseason coaches' basketball poll; Gators No. 7


    Duke has been tabbed basketball's preseason No. 1 for the second straight season in the coaches' poll, released Thursday.

    Florida point guard Chris Chiozza launches the shot of last season’s NCAA Tournament, a winning 3
against Wisconsin that put the Gators into the Elite Eight. Chiozza returns to lead a UF team that’s getting its share of preseason attention, including a No. 7 ranking in the coaches’ poll.