2012 Vote Tampa Bay

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hillsborough shocker: Henriquez thumps Ronda Storms for Property Appraiser

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Bob Henriquez is the new Hillsborough Property Appraiser
  • Bob Henriquez is the new Hillsborough Property Appraiser
Although some local pundits always thought that Democrat Bob Henriquez had a decent shot to knock off Republican Ronda Storms in the race for Hillsborough County Property Appraiser, that sentiment seemed to change as the calendar moved toward November 6.

Perhaps that was because of an alleged internal poll that showed Henriquez down by double digits to Storms approximately six weeks ago.

But Henriquez worked hard, and raised much more money than Storms, the controversial former Hillsborough County Commissioner who had never won countywide in Florida. The final tally: Henriquez 52 percent, Storms 43 percent. The Democrat wins.

Speaking to CL late Tuesday night, Henriquez was analytical in assessing how he did it.

"I really think we ran a really smart race. Our polling showed that it was very difficult for her to move the needle, beyond her name recognition and built-in advantages that she had. We put together a smart campaign and worked our butts off. We had a great team, we canvassed around the county, in areas that people wouldn't have expected us to go, and basically raised the resources necessary to build our name ID to the point that our message was a hiring decision worked."

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In two narrow Hillsborough house races, Mark Danish is in, Gail Gottlieb is out

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Mark Danish
  • Mark Danish
Democrat Mark Danish has beaten Republican incumbent Shawn Harrison in one of the bigger upsets of the night in the Florida Legislature in House District 63, a redrawn district that includes parts of Lutz, the USF area, Town N’ Country, Seminole Heights and Ybor City.

Out of over 60,000 votes cast, Danish won by less than 900 votes, taking the race 51-49 percent.

A former school teacher, Danish told CL's Michael Newburger that he wants to increase funding for education in Florida.

"I'm talking K through college. That keeps coming up as an issue that we want to improve, and we talk about how wonderful the education system is, and how we want to improve it...and how we want to have accountability, but no one wants to put money into doing that."

An equally tight race in Eastern Hillsborough County's HD-59 race saw Republican Ross Spano narrowly edge out Democrat Gail Gottlieb, also by a 51-49 percent margin.

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In HD-68 race in Pinellas, Democrat Dwight Dudley beats Frank Farkas in what he calls a "despicable" campaign

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Dwight Dudley at the Coliseum in St. Pete on Tuesday
  • Dwight Dudley at the Coliseum in St. Pete on Tuesday
Pinellas County attorney Dwight Dudley has beaten former GOP state legislator Frank Farkas in the extremely competitive House District 68 race, 51-44 percent. Independent Matthew D. Weidner received 5 percent of the vote.

Dudley targeted much of his campaign against Farkas for his 2006 vote in the legislature for voting for SB 888, which allowed utility companies like Progress Energy to charge ratepayers for construction costs of nuclear plants regardless of their completion. That vote was nearly unanimous in the legislature at the time, but the public has a much more critical view of it now than it did then, and Dudley was smart in attacking Farkas for that vote.

Farkas went after Dudley for, well, being an attorney. A criminal defense attorney.

That angered Dudley, who told CL earlier Tuesday that it revealed a lack of understanding of the U.S. Constitution on the part of Farkas, who is a chiropractor.

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Kevin Beckner crushes Margaret Iuculano in Hillsborough County Commission District 6 race

"I give her an 'A' for effort and an 'F' for integrity and honesty," Beckner said caustically.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Kevin Beckner
  • Kevin Beckner
In the Countywide District 6 race in Hillsborough County, Democratic incumbent Kevin Beckner has defeated his Republican challenger Margaret Iuculano in a bitter race, 58-42 percent (that's with 321 of 347 precincts in).

Iuculano was an extremely conservative candidate who set the tone of the race a year ago when she slammed Beckner with what stands as the ultimate negative epithet in the Tampa Bay area, labeling him a "San Francisco Democrat."

Before the votes were all in, CL asked Beckner about his thoughts on Iuculano.

"I give her an I give her an 'A' for effort and an 'F' for integrity and honesty," Beckner said caustically.

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Al Higginbotham beats Mark Nash in Hillsborough County Commission District 4 race

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Mark Nash
  • Mark Nash
Mark Nash tells CL that some of his friends will never forgive us for our headline after Nash announced he was challenging Republican Al Higginbotham for the Eastern Hillsborough County District 4 County Commission seat (That headline was "Is he nuts?!!Democrat Mark Nash says he can win in the most conservative part of Hillsborough County").

With 74 of 82 precincts reporting, Higginbotham is leading Nash by a 58-38 percent lead.

Speaking to CL before the final results were in tonight, Nash said he disagreed with the proposition that Democrats are unelectable in Eastern Hillsborough (and cited Gail Gottlieb's chances as proving that adage to be inaccurate, though Gottlieb is trailing as we write this to Republican Ross Spano).

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For the 22nd time, Bill Young will be representing Pinellas County in Congress

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Jessica Ehrlich & Mitch Perry at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg last July
  • Jessica Ehrlich & Mitch Perry at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg last July
The Associated Press has called the Florida Congressional District 13 race in Pinellas County for C.W. Bill Young over his Democratic opponent, 38-year-old attorney Jessica Ehrlich.

With 105 of the 225 precincts in, Young leads Ehrlich 58-42 percent.

Believe it or not (and pending the final tally), that 42 percent for Ehrlich would be the second best result for a Democrat against the legendary Young in the 42 years that he's been in office.

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BBC at USF: The Brits meet the Tea Party

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Best sort-of-local media moment so far this Election Night: BBC's live simulcast on WUSF from the University of South Florida's Marshall Center, sadly lasting only an hour, from 6 to 7 p.m.

It was fun to hear the bemused Brits talk wonderingly about how excited we Americans get about our presidential elections. The anchor managed to seem both respectful and unimpressed by his roundtable guests, including a woman he cheerily addressed as "Pam" (that would be Iorio).

Expat TV producer Mal Young, interviewed by phone in L.A., allowed that the election was fun, but "not quite as enthralling as something written by Aaron Sorkin."

But the best part was when a decidedly skeptical BBC reporter interviewed a rep of the Tea Party of Florida. The reporter tried valiantly to conceal his incredulity as the TPOF guy expounded on his fears that the U.S. was going to break up into multiple dueling states à la the Soviet Union. Then he asked him, if the TPOF is so concerned with the deficit, whether he was worried that Romney's across-the-board tax cuts and expanded military budget might actually add to the deficit. (Good question, Mr. BBC.) Somehow Mr. RPOF's answer brought John F. Kennedy into the discussion, referring to him, I think, as having been the U.S. Senator from New York.

The BBC is continuing its coverage of the election into the wee hours; it's five hours later over there, so they're pulling an all-nighter. Check it out online.

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Pasco County results portend good things for Romney in Florida (& beyond) tonight?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Let's get one thing straight: Pasco County, Ari Fleischer, is no longer a bellwether county like it was back when your guy was trying to get elected.

The former George W. Bush flack turned CNN commentator repeated the news this afternoon that has had conservatives buzzing nationally - that Pasco, that went for John McCain by three percentage points in 2008, has eight percent more Republicans than Democrats voting this time around, at least up until 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.

No, that's not just early voting/vote by absentee calculations - Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley is actually posting in something like real time - as real as it gets, I suppose - the total number of votes cast today, Election Day, in Pasco.

As of 4 p.m., 81,950 ballots had been cast in total by Republican voters - that includes early voting, absentee, and votes at the polls. Democrats were at 41,650. Broken down percentage wise, that's 43 percent for Republicans, 35 percent for Democrats.

So what does this mean?

Well, it means that Democrats are not doing the job in keeping the margins close, as they had hoped to do.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

E.J. Otero — the forgotten congressional candidate

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Two years ago, the Tea Party rebellion that went from coast to coast animated Tampa Bay area Republicans, with several of them engaging in a spirited primary election to take on Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

However, Castor swatted away those conservative fantasies by vanquishing the survivor of that GOP primary in 2010, Mike Prendergast.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe was a GOP primary candidate in 2012 set to face Castor, but he later dropped out of the race when he realized fundraising was a major chore against the incumbent in an overwhelmingly Democratic district.

So who is this year's sacrificial lamb GOP opponent? It's E.J. Otero, a retired Air Force Colonel who had tours of duty supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Otero hasn't received much support from the Republican Party of Florida, but he was allowed to speak briefly at the GOP get-out-the-vote rally in the tight confines of La Segunda Bakery in Ybor City, which featured a host of Republican officials, including former Gov. Jeb Bush.

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RPOF issues mailer depicting Democrat Gail Gottlieb as crazed domestic terrorist

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 10:57 AM

(UPDATE)Throughout the years, Eastern Hillsborough County hasn't exactly been a welcoming region for Democrats. But Gail Gottlieb and her followers think she has a solid shot in the race for the open seat in Florida House District 59, which encompasses much of Brandon, Valrico and Riverview.

Apparently the Republican Party of Florida agrees, as its name is on a vicious mailer against Gottlieb that hit mailboxes in the district this past weekend.

The mailer depicts Occupy Wall Street activists on one side, and what appears to be a terrorist flinging a bomb on the other. At the bottom of the flyer it says, "Gail Gottlieb — Way Too Liberal, Way Too Extreme, Not One Of Us!" (You can view it here.)

Gottlieb is a Brandon native who has lived much of her professional life working for progressive groups in Washington D.C. and New York, which apparently makes her too radical for the district. But the Tampa Tribune's conservative editorial board didn't feel that way, as they endorsed her over her GOP opponent, Ross Spano (The Tampa Bay Times endorsed her as well).

Gottlieb calls the mailer "outrageous."

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