It’s waaay early to speculate on the final local candidate fields for 2024, but Hillsborough Republicans are starting to notice that so far, no one is challenging four Democratic constitutional officers.
No Republican has filed to challenge Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez, Elections Supervisor Craig Latimer, Tax Collector Nancy Millan and Clerk of Court Cindy Stuart, all of whom have filed for re-election or are expected to.
“We’re working on that as we speak — we’re expecting to have good candidates,” said county GOP chairperson Dana Galen.
In a recent meeting of the county party, vice chairperson Rick Kunz showed a slide of those four unopposed Democratic names and encouraged people interested to let the party know.
Republicans have some reasons to be optimistic.
The only Democrat so far challenging Republican Sheriff Chad Chronister is Gary Pruitt, who lost to Chronister in 2020, a strong Democratic year, by 19 points.
There’s no challenger so far to Susan Lopez, appointed last year by Gov. Ron DeSantis as state attorney — although Lopez will have her hands full if Andrew Warren, the twice-elected state attorney DeSantis removed from office, decides to run again. It’s unlikely any Democrat will file against Lopez until Warren’s intentions are clear.
Stuart is scheduled to hold her campaign kickoff Monday with a host committee including at least one prominent Republican, Chronister.