Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey may mount a 2018 bid for Richard Corcoran’s state House seat in 2018, sources tell FloridaPolitics.com.
Corcoran cannot seek re-election seat due to term limits. His HD 37 covers central Pasco County directly north of Tampa, with a reliably Republican lean.
Corcoran beat Starkey the last time the seat was open.
Eight years later, Starkey is thinking about making another run for the Legislature, only this time she’d be in a stronger political position.
Starkey replaced Ann Hildebrand on the commission in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. Both elections for her District 3 seat saw her defeat Randy Evans. Before winning her commission seat, the businesswoman and mother of four was elected unopposed to two terms on the Pasco County School Board.
Starkey began her political career as a citizen activist on a platform of visual standards for signs, billboards, and commercial buildings, as well as limits to bus benches on public rights of way. As a commissioner, she focused on economic development and enhanced recreation options, such as the creation of a bicycle/pedestrian trail between Trinity and Dade City. Three Republican governors — Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott, as well as former Senate President John McKay — have appointed Starkey to various state boards five times.
Starkey served as commission chair from November 2015 through November 2016, and in 2014, her work on flood insurance reform led the Florida Association of Counties to present her with a Presidential Advocacy Award.
The longtime Pasco resident has also been deeply involved in the community, including being a youth soccer coach and serving on the boards of All Children’s Hospital, Red Cross of Tampa Bay and East Lake Little League.
If she declared, Starkey would be in a four-way (at least) Republican primary for HD 37 along with George Agovino, Bill Gunter and Elle Rudisill, though so far none of the three have made serious progress on the fundraising trail.
Gunter is the current leader with about $5,600 in his campaign account and is likely the most recognizable candidate in the current crop. The pastor won a GOP primary to take over for former Rep. Mike Fasano in 2013, but lost a tight race to former Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy.
He is followed by Rudisill, an assistant State Attorney in Pasco and Pinellas counties, who has just shy of $5,000 in the bank. Agovino, a retired FBI agent, is $177 in the hole according to his most recent campaign finance report.
Besting those numbers should be a cakewalk for Starkey, who easily crossed into six-figure territory during her 2016 re-election bid.