Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sue Carlton: Competent but creepy or political zealotry? Republicans get to pick

Interesting dilemma for Republican primary voters in a normally yawn-inducing race to be Hillsborough County property appraiser.

Do you stick with: Competent, but creepy?

Or go for: Untainted by scandal, but unable to keep personal beliefs out of public office?

To put it another way: Do you vote to keep four-termer Rob Turner — despite his admission that he sent multiple porn-related emails to an employee he once dated, and despite the fact that taxpayers could end up with the legal tab?

Or do you opt for state Sen. Ronda Storms, who never met an issue that couldn't benefit from her own religious beliefs, and who might even put a little fire-and-brimstone in the dry but important business of assessing property?

Once the two duke it out, throw in Democratic former state Rep. Bob Henriquez and no-party-affiliation candidates James DeMio and Rob Townsend, for One Interesting Race, Part II.

But first, one tough Republican cage match.

Storms, not exactly your step-lightly kind of candidate, jumped in following the news that Turner sent his human resources director Carolyn Filippone hard-core pornographic emails. Turner, who is married, says it was an exchange both mutual and consensual. Filippone, fired as the Times was about to break the story, is expected to sue. In short, a mess.

Enter Storms, who said this week: "To me, it shows a complete and utter disrespect for women, and a flagrant disrespect for the taxpayers." Say what you will about her, but she's already smartly set her sights on two sets of voters.

Turner? He touts his credentials and says the office is not a place where a politician, as in Storms, "can park themselves for four years and collect a paycheck." He hopes to persuade everyone to focus solely on how well he has run the place for 16 years. Good luck with that.

Maybe voters would have found the porn story too distasteful to dwell on, or bought his line about it being a personal, private matter. (One more time: He. Was. Her. Boss. He. Sent. Her. Porn.) But taxpayers are in no mood for his legal bills if and when she sues.

Popular in her Senate district, Storms also has a strong contingent of naysayers because of her willingness to use her position on everything from banning local government from recognizing gay pride events to making it more burdensome to get an abortion. Could her candidacy actually turn voters to Turner?

One more thought: If Storms is going to be part of the political landscape anyway, might some voters prefer her in a quieter role — not sponsoring bills, not pushing controversial measures, not bickering on a board?

Me, I had this wild thought that, unable to stand all this messiness when there's governing to be done, former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio sweeps in like Mary Poppins, all oh-for-goodness-sake about it, easily wins and quickly restores order. But maybe she's contemplating a bigger mess in Tallahassee.

Who will be the Republican contender? For now, only one answer: It won't be boring finding out.

• • •

Friday's column about a disabled woman's parking troubles in downtown Tampa should have said a hearing officer, not a judge, made her pay a ticket.

Sue Carlton: Competent but creepy or political zealotry? Republicans get to pick 06/08/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 8, 2012 9:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. Memorial for Snooty the manatee, postponed because of Irma, to be held Sunday

    Wildlife

    A public memorial to celebrate the life of 69-year-old Snooty the manatee will be held at the South Florida Museum on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

    Snooty , the world's most celebrated manatee, begs for another slice of apple in his pool in the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton in 2008. Snooty was 60 then. [Times 2008]
  3. Residents wade through a flooded road after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, September 22, 2017. Because of the heavy rains brought by Maria, thousands of people were evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam. [Associated Press]
  4. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  5. New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

    Locals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. [Associated Press]