Republican Jim Davison has filed to challenge Democrat Pat Kemp for her countywide commissioner’s seat.
Davison, 65, an emergency physician from Hunter’s Green, is a New Tampa advocate who contends Tampa city government has failed to provide adequate services there since its 1988 annexation.
He narrowly lost a 2016 city council race to Luis Viera, during which Davison angered Mayor Bob Buckhorn by suggesting New Tampa should consider seceding from the city. Davison previously ran for county commissioner seats in 2002 and 2004.
He has been involved recently with Fix Our Roads First, a group arguing for increased emphasis on increasing road capacity as opposed to mass transit in transportation planning. The organization opposed the one-cent All For Transportation sales tax.
Davison said his campaign will focus on infrastructure including roads, utilities, stormwater control and planning for sea level rise.
“We’re building schools without adequate roads leading to them, and there’s construction going on without adequate infrastructure,” he said. “The city is zoning new buildings in the highest-risk areas in the county.”
Kemp said she believes county residents “want to see the kinds of things I’ve been advocating — smart growth, having growth pay for itself, and a balanced transit solution.”
Ruth’s List backs McDonald
Jen McDonald has scored a boost in her tough Democratic primary against Harry Cohen for the District 1 county commission seat — an endorsement from Ruth’s List.
It will publicize her campaign to its membership, urging them to contribute.
Ruth’s List, modeled on the national Emily’s List, supports pro-choice Democratic women in Florida races.
Tampa Democrat Alex Sink, one of its founders, said the backing will be “a shot in the arm” for McDonald — even though Sink herself backs Cohen.
“It gives her statewide visibility and sends a message that the organization believes there is some path to victory for her,” Sink said.
Cohen looks like the frontrunner, well-known from his 2019 mayoral campaign and eight years on the City Council representing South Tampa, which is part of the commission district.
But McDonald believes she has a demographic edge that Ruth’s List may augment. In 2018, she said, 58 percent of the Democratic primary voters in the county were women.
“There is a movement behind this campaign,” she said.
Ruth’s List President Pamela Goodman said the group doesn’t oppose Cohen, but endorses any pro-choice Democratic woman who meets their criteria for fundraising, a viable campaign plan and grassroots support, as McDonald did.
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Goodman said she couldn’t estimate how much fundraising help the endorsement will draw.
Locals got Lindberg money
North Carolina insurance magnate Greg Lindberg, convicted last week of trying to bribe that state’s insurance commissioner, was a major Florida Republican political donor who gave $350,000 to committees backing Rick Scott for U.S. Senate and nearly $80,000 to Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, according to Politico.
Lindberg also gave smaller amounts to Tampa area officials or committees they control:
- $70,000, Jobs for Florida committee controlled by state Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby
- $70,000, Florida Republican Senatorial Committee, state Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton
- $20,000, Building on Your Dreams committee, state Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton
- $20,000 to Floridians for Economic Freedom committee, state Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor
- $10,000, Liberty Florida committee, state Sen. Jeff Brandes
- $2,000, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, R-St. Petersburg
- $1,500, Floridians for Common Sense committee, state Sen. Darryl Rouson
Goutoufas filed for clerk
Republican Davelis “D.C.” Goutoufas, cigar shop owner and former banker known for overcoming deafness in his career, has filed to run for clerk of court.
Republican county Commissioner Sandy Murman is already filed in the race, but it’s unclear whether she will actually run. Goutoufas declined to say whether he will challenge her in a primary if she runs or whether he has discussed the race with her.
Asked why he chose to run for clerk, Goutoufas responded with a news release saying, “My background and diverse experience will bring solid leadership and fresh perspective” to the office and his “hard work, dedication, and commitment” will move it “to the next level.”
A Tampa native, Goutoufas said he was the first deaf graduate of the University of Tampa. He formerly operated Gaspar’s Cigars, a shop and hangout for cigar aficionados, which he has now converted into a mobile operation.
In 2015, he received electronic inner ear implants allowing him to hear for the first time since childhood.
If he’s the GOP nominee, Goutoufas likely would face Democrat Kevin Beckner in the general election.
Meanwhile, Beckner has announced endorsements from two prominent Republicans, former county Commissioner Mark Sharpe and 2016 candidate for clerk Eric Seidel.
Contact William March at email@example.com.