Monday, June 19, 2006


Wayne Garcia of The Weekly Planet Tampa Bay has come up with eight political races across the area worthy of watching. I especially like his opening paragraphs in the piece from the June 14 edition; so true:

In boxing, you have the prizefight at the top of the card, with a whole bunch of little battles staged beforehand just to ensure that a) the folks paying $100 a ticket feel like they're getting their money's worth and b) the audience gets its blood lust up to speed for the main event.

In politics, it works the same way.

Here are his picks on the races to keep an eye on:

1) Hillsborough County Commission - District 7: County Commissioners Thomas Scott (R) -vs- Mark Sharpe (D). Two incumbants facing off against each other; Scott switching district seats to avoid term limits. District 7 is a countywide at-large seat.

2) Florida Senate - District 16: State Representatives Frank Farkas (R - St. Petersburg) -vs- Kim Berfield (R - Clearwater) -vs- Charlie Justice (D - St. Petersburg). Republican incumbant Jim Sebesta is term limited.

3) Florida Senate - District 10: Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms -vs- former state representative Sandy Murman in a battle of Republicans. GOP incumbant and Senate President Tom Lee is seeking the state Chief Financial Officer post being vacated by gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher.

4) Pinellas County School Board - Nancy Bostock -vs- Mary L. Russell (Nonpartisan). The main result that could come from this election is the future of Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox. Bostock, a hard line conservative Republican, supports Wilcox. Russell, a Democrat, is a former teacher who helped found the advocacy group Teachers United for the Future and has issues with the superintendent.

5) Florida House - District 51: Seminole Mayor Dottie Reader (R) -vs- former Seminole Councilwoman Janet Long (D). The eventual winner will replace term-limited incumbant and Speaker Pro-Tempore Leslie Waters (R - Seminole). Both candidates have primary opponents, and Garcia says that Reader's will be especially tough against Waters' longtime senior legislative assistant Bruce Cotton.

6) Florida House - District 52: Former USF-St. Pete Dean Bill Heller (D) -vs- Angelo Capelli (R). Heller, who is well known in St. Petersburg, faces off against Liz McCallum in the Democratic primary. One interesting note of interest: Before he entered the race, Democrat Heller made a $100 donation to Republican Capelli's campaign.

7) Hillsborough County Mayoral Referendum: This will allow residents of Hillsborough County to have an elected county mayor. Garcia's belief: "Great idea. It's dead in the water. If it even makes it to the ballot."

8) Hillsborough County Commission - District 1: Tampa City Councilwoman Rose Ferlita (R) -vs- Brad Swanson (R) -vs- activist Mary Mulhem (D). The winner will replace incumbant Kathy Castor (D), who is running for the congressional seat currently held by Republican Katherine Harris.

Watch and enjoy...


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