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Ronda Storms announces HD 59 bid

Republican Ronda Storms, whose controversial career has included two terms each in the Florida Senate and Hillsborough County Commission, has decided to attempt a political comeback.

Storms announced Friday on her Facebook page that she will run for HD 59, a seat currently held by Ross Spano, who is running for the Republican nomination for Attorney General.

“After much prayerful consideration, my family and I have decided to step forward and make the personal sacrifice necessary to run for public office, this time for State House, District 59, Republican,” she said.

She dropped out of public life after losing a race for Hillsborough Property Appraiser 52-43 percent against Bob Henriquez in 2012.

In her Facebook announcement, she said those who “stopped me on my way about my business, stopped me in stores, contacted my family, called us on the phone, all encouraging me to run for public office.”

Storms frequently made headlines during her eight years on the County Commission. She advocated sterilization for men or women convicted of child abuse and led a movement to cut off county funding for Planned Parenthood.

Her most controversial moment came when she took the forefront of a commission decision to abstain from any involvement with Gay Pride parades or celebrations. She even stipulated the ordinance would be labeled “little g, little p.”

When Commissioner Kevin Beckner years later led a charge to overturn that decision, he declared the ordinance would be written “capital G, capital P.”

So far, Republican Joe Wicker is the only other candidate to file.

The Brandon businessman and veteran filed for the seat a day after Spano announced his Attorney General bid, and was able to seal an endorsement from Spano in the first few days of his campaign.

HD 59 covers most of Brandon, as well as Valrico, Dover, Seffner, Riverview, Palm River and Clair-Mel City. The district has more registered Democrats than Republicans, though Spano had no problem holding on to the seat after the one-point victory that put him into office in 2012.

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I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.

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