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Politician, public servant join candidates competing in Hillsborough’s 2020 elections

Former Tampa City Councilman Harry Cohen and longtime Tax Collector employee Nancy Millan file to run for public office
Nancy Millan, director of community relations in Doug Belden’s office, has announced her candidacy for tax collector. [Courtesy of Nancy Millan]

TAMPA — The chance to win a Constitutional office or an open seat on the Hillsborough County Commission drew two new candidates this week.

Political newcomer Nancy Millan cannon-balled into the deep end of the local politics pool on Wednesday when she filed to run for Hillsborough County Tax Collector.

It’s her first run, but she has plenty of experience in the Tax Collector’s office, having worked her way from an entry-level accounting clerk to her current role as Director of Community Relations.

Millan, 52, joins the race with the blessings of her boss, outgoing Republican Tax Collector Doug Belden, who cited health problems when he announced last month that he wouldn’t seek reelection.

For now Millan, a Democrat, is the only announced candidate for the post, which pays $171,000 annually. But former Hillsborough County School Board member April Griffin has indicated she plans to join the race.

Former Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen filed Thursday to run for the Hillsborough County Commission's District 1 seat. [City of Tampa] [City of Tampa]

On Thursday, former Tampa City Councilman Harry Cohen quieted the rumor mill when he filed to run for Sandy Murman’s District 1 seat on the county commission. Murman is term-limited and can’t run again for that seat.

At least for now, the 49-year-old Cohen’s only competition is another Democrat — business owner and South Tampa Chamber of Commerce board member Jen McDonald.

Murman, a Republican, filed for the Clerk of Court race last June and has already amassed nearly $195,000 in campaign contributions. But she told the Tampa Bay Times she is still deciding which race she wants to jump into.

When county commission Chairman Les Miller announced he would abandon his campaign to replace Pat Frank as Clerk of the Circuit Court, Cohen’s name began to circulate as a possible contender for the job.

He began working in the office as general counsel after launching a failed campaign for mayor of Tampa in April.

Instead, another prominent Democrat entered the race —- former county commissioner Kevin Beckner. Longtime Hillsborough County School Board member Cindy Stuart also is a rumored candidate.