Jan. 26 – Florida State House District 58 Primary (Tampa)
Voters in the Tampa area will have a few options in a special election primary to replace Democrat Michael Sciotini who resigned his seat to become Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Obama White House. 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans are hoping to be nominees for the general special election to be held on February 23.
The district includes west Tampa as well as outlying communities such as Northeast MacFarlane, Riverside Heights, Seminole Heights and Wellswood. The district traditionally leans to Democrats, having voted for Obama in the last election. The election won’t change the makeup of the State House. Republicans hold a commanding 76-43 lead with this one vacancy.
Democrats will be choosing between Pat Kemp, chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party, Janet Cruz, a well-known community activist and Democratic fundraiser, and Gil Sanchez, an attorney and former president of the Hillsborough County Democratic Hispanic Caucus.
Interestingly, only Kemp currently lives in the district. However, Cruz has received endorsements from State CFO and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink as well as many in-district politicians and hopes that these connections will put her over the top in the election. By law, the representative must live in district and so, if elected, Cruz and Sanchez would only have to move into the district after they have been elected.
Republicans will face an uphill battle in the election but that hasn’t stopped two candidates from running. They are Hunter Chamberlin, a Tampa attorney and Jackie Rojas-Quinones, an accountant and president of the Tampa Latin Chamber of Commerce.