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  1. Opinion

Democrat Pat Kemp elected to Hillsborough County commission while Republican Sandy Murman wins another term

Pat Kemp, Democratic candidate for Hillsborough County Commissioner.
Pat Kemp, Democratic candidate for Hillsborough County Commissioner.
Published Nov. 15, 2017

TAMPA — Democrat Pat Kemp handily won a seat on the Hillsborough County Commission on Tuesday.

Kemp beat her Republican opponent Tim Schock 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent.

Kemp will replace outgoing Commissioner Kevin Beckner, a fellow Democrat, as the District 6 representative on the county board. The at-large seat represents all of Hillsborough County and its 1.3 million residents.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Sandy Murman, a Republican, won re-election by a 57 percent to 43 percent margin over Democratic challenger Jeff Zampitella.

With this result, the partisan split on the seven-member county commission will remain the same: five Republicans and two Democrats.

It will also be the first time since 2006 that two women hold seats on the commission.

Kemp, 59, ran on a promise to fix Hillsborough County's gridlocked roads. As a transit activist and environmental advocate, she has proposed a massive investment in buses, trains and ferries.

Schock, 43, also campaigned on transportation but instead urged Hillsborough to embrace future technology, such as autonomous vehicles.

Transportation loomed large in the District 1 race as well. Zampitella, 47, staked his underdog campaign on discontent to Murman's vote against raising the sales tax by a half cent to pay for transportation needs here.

Neither Kemp nor Schock have served in elected office. Both lost races for a County Commission seat in 2014 and each faced tough primary battles this year.

Kemp, a Tampa lawyer who also worked as an aide in the office of U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor when she was a commissioner, came out on top of a four-person Democratic race in August.

Schock, a transportation consultant from Tampa, soundly defeated longtime County Commissioner Jim Norman, who sought a political comeback after leaving his state Senate seat amid an ethics controversy.

Contact Steve Contorno at scontorno@tampabay.com. Follow @scontorno.

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