1. Archive

Shawn Harrison leads HD 63 race -- but just barely

Published Sep. 16, 2016

A northern Hillsborough County state House seat that has flipped parties each of the last two elections could do so again.

Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, is up against city Councilwoman Lisa Montelione, a Democrat, in HD 63 -- but just barely, according to a poll conducted last month for state Democrats. Harrison leads 40-37, inside the 5.3 percent margin of error with 23 percent of voters still undecided.

The same poll, by Frederick Polls, shows a 9-point Hillary Clinton lead over Donald Trump in the district, where Democrats outnumber Republicans.

Harrison's advantage is name recognition. He also has out-fundraised Montelione by $179,855 to $119,010.

But Democrats are hopeful they can counteract that.

When pollsters read respondents information about the candidates' backgrounds and messages, Montelione rose to a 49-44 lead with just 7 percent undecided, the poll says.

"Councilwoman Lisa Montelione has quickly built a reputation as a dedicated public servant known for her responsiveness to her constituents and her commitment to improving the lives of the people of Tampa," said Anders Croy, Florida Democratic Party spokesman.

Harrison could not be reached for comment Friday.

He was first elected to the House in 2010 but lost in 2012 to Democrat Mark Danish. Harrison returned after the 2014 election.