TAMPA – Ken Hagan, Hillsborough County's longest tenured commissioner, will go to the general election seeking a fifth term in office.
With most precincts reported Tuesday night in the Republican primary for the District 2 seat, Hagan held a huge lead over challenger Chris Paradies, an attorney making his first run for office.
Hagan will face Democrat Angela Birdsong, a health and life insurance agent who was the only Democrat to file for the seat.
"I'm extremely humbled by the outpouring of support tonight," he said.
A cheerleader for efforts to bring the Tampa Bay Rays to Tampa, Hagan had been talked of as a potential candidate for Tampa mayor and was term-limited from running again for his countywide District 5 seat.
He ended that speculation in April 2017 by filing to run for the north Hillsborough district that first launched his career in 2002. A loophole in the county's term limits rules allows commissioners to switch from single member seats to countywide ones and vice versa.
Hagan raised $485,000 in campaign donations, dwarfing the $29,000 raised by Paradies.
Still, other than fundraising, he has run a low-key campaign and did not attend several candidate forums.
"He didn't show up to anything," Paradies said.
Hagan spent only $98,000 during the primary campaign, meaning he will go into the General Election as a favorite because of better name recognition and a sizable campaign war chest.
Birdsong has raised just under $23,000.
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Contact Christopher O'Donnell at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times