Thursday, April 26, 2018
Politics

Local politicians seek to sway Tampa area business leaders

TAMPA — If past elections are a guide, Wednesday's 2012 Political Hob Nob straw poll results will not be a great indicator of who wins office this year.

After all, this is the same group that predicted that a penny sales tax hike proposal to pay for light rail would easily pass in 2010 and that Rose Ferlita would trounce Bob Buckhorn in the race to be Tampa mayor.

Still, most of the local hopefuls show up to shake hands and pass out literature to dozens of business leaders at the meet-and-greet held by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. And those who win the straw poll leave feeling a little more buoyant.

"We did well," said Republican state Rep. Rich Glorioso, running to be Hillsborough County supervisor of elections against Democrats Craig Latimer and Tom Scott. "We think we are the strongest candidate."

Glorioso got 62 percent of the vote among ballots cast Wednesday evening. Chamber officials did not immediately release the breakdown of votes for those who weren't victorious or how many people cast ballots.

The outcome can reflect the outlook of the establishment in the Tampa business community. As often, it reflects how many volunteers the candidates recruited to attend the event with them and cast ballots.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was favored by 63 percent of those voting. Republican Connie Mack collected 61 percent over incumbent and Democrat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate race, and Evelio "EJ" Otero won support from a plurality — 45 percent — over Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.

Seeming state Senate favorites John Legg and Tom Lee, both Republicans, took pluralities of the vote, while Jim Frishe got 63 percent in the District 22 contest.

Voters chose the incumbents in each County Commission race and for each School Board contest except one: District 7, with Terry Kemple claiming a plurality — 38 percent — for the seat occupied by Carol Kurdell.

Republican state Sen. Ronda Storms won with a plurality of support for property appraiser against embattled incumbent Rob Turner, who is weathering a porn-sending scandal, in a contest that also features Democratic former state Rep. Bob Henriquez and two no-party candidates.

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