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Political novice Goddard outpaces veteran rivals

Political newcomer Valerie Goddard beat out two veterans in the most recent fundraising period for the District 3 Hillsborough County Commission race. Goddard, chairman of the Children's Board, pulled in $4,365 from 66 contributors in the past three months. She also received another $2,252 in in-kind services.

Les Miller, a former state Senator, raised $3,350 from 81 donors and received $350 in in-kind contributions.

Kevin White, the incumbent in that district and a former Tampa City Council member who is running for re-election to the commission seat, raised $3,650 from nine donors.

All three candidates are Democrats.

Goddard said her fundraising bump is evidence that the voters "recognize it's time for a change, that they want new leadership in District 3.''

She still has a long way to go, though, before she catches up with Miller and White on fundraising totals.

She has raised just $5,560, and has already spent $4,560. Miller's total is nearly $34,000. White has raised more than $87,000.

Goddard entered the race in September, and Miller and White have been at it for a year.

White, who has come under fire in recent months because of a guilty verdict in a sexual discrimination lawsuit against him, says he will pick up the pace on his fundraising efforts now that the holidays have passed.

"Everyone's focus is on different things so I try not to get out and ask for money during the holiday season," he said.

He said he'll get going again in February with a campaign kickoff. And speaking of kickoffs, White says one reason he hasn't raised much money is that he's been visiting colleges with his son, a Tampa Catholic senior who is line to receive a football scholarship.

Honeymoon is over

Fresh off his honeymoon in Thailand last week, Democrat Gil Sanchez says he's ready for a campaign blitz in the few weeks remaining before the special primary election for the District 58 state House seat on Jan. 26.

Democrat Michael Scionti resigned from the post last month to take a job with the Department of Defense.

Sanchez clearly knows he has a tough battle in the primary when he'll face longtime Democratic fundraiser Janet Cruz and Pat Kemp, who chairs the local Democratic Party.

"We have two strong opponents, but we will win this election based on our grass-roots efforts and effective fundraising," Sanchez wrote in an e-mail to his volunteers.

Sanchez is running on a platform he calls the "Triangle of Prosperity," with economic development, public safety and education is its three legs.

One specific change he'd like to bring to the state: the authorization of "series" limited liability companies, which would serve as sort of an umbrella LLC for multiple corporations.

"The whole purpose is to make Florida as small business friendly as possible. This is a tool to do that," he said.

Regarding Cruz and Kemp, Sanchez said: "I commend them for their service to the democratic process and the political party. In the end, we're all Democrats. But I have something else to offer."

Cruz has won the endorsements of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, the West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Tampa firefighters union in her quest to replace Scionti.

Her campaign reports she has raised more than $30,000.

Kemp has raised at least $3,000, and contributed $10,000 of her own money.

A candidate forum is scheduled for at 7 p.m. Monday at Oak Grove Church of God, 6830 N Habana Ave., in Tampa.

Janet Zink, Times staff writer

Political novice Goddard outpaces veteran rivals 01/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 11, 2010 10:54pm]
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