Hillsborough Democratic Party Executive Director Mark Hanisee announced Thursday he is leaving his post to manage the David Straz for Tampa Mayor campaign.
Hanisee, who will replace Susan Cleary, will start July 1.
“I am delighted to welcome Mark to the campaign,” Straz said in a statement. “Mark Hanisee’s deep roots and love for Tampa will guide him as we put together a strong campaign.”
“I am very excited to join the Straz campaign,” Hanisee said. “David Straz is a leader and a man of great stature and accomplishments. When I look at the tremendous impact he has had on the City of Tampa as a private citizen, I see great promise for what he will be able to accomplish as mayor.”
Also, the Straz campaign unveiled “Background,” a new introductory video in his bid to replace term-limited Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
In the video, Straz tells his “uniquely American story.”
“I have lived the American dream, and it started with a broom in my hand,” Straz says. “As Mayor, I will work with everyone as we continue to grow and prosper … The future is incredibly bright for Tampa and I want you to join and be a part of my campaign.”
Clary, from Winter Garden, was only campaign manager for about a month since Straz entered the Tampa mayoral race May 8. She has worked on several Democratic campaigns, including that of U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.
Hanisee, a third generation Floridian, spent the last three and a half years as executive director of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party. During that time, the HCDEC raised nearly $600,000 and successfully helped Andrew Warren become state attorney. As former chairman of the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee from 2010-2014, Hanisee came on board in January 2015 to help lead the Hillsborough Democrats with fundraising efforts.
Working to elect Pat Kemp in 2016, Hanisee also helped preserved the at-large commissioner position, for which he was honored that year with the Chair’s Award for Most Valuable Player.
In Pinellas, Hanisee provided support for Rick Kriseman’s win as mayor of St. Petersburg in 2014, earning a Golden Gavel Award by the Florida Democratic Party.
Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Ione Townsend said in a statement:
“Mark will be greatly missed. Over the past nearly 4 years we have righted our ship and are now on solid financial footing that allows us to support candidates and improve our GOTV efforts. Our membership has grown to 314 and we have implemented our 2018 ground game for voter engagement.
“While Mark’s primary responsibilities have been focused on fundraising he has also been a valuable resource to the team in our efforts to organize HC in a way that helps to elect Democrats. We wish Mark well. I personally will miss his collegial support and his counsel.
“I and my fellow officers are very confident that we have learned a lot from Mark and as we pull together with your support we will continue to thrive and move forward.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call email me.
“Well wishes to Mark; I am sure will be appreciated by him.”
Straz faces former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, Tampa City Council members Mike Suarez and Harry Cohen, and businessman Topher Morrison.
To view the video, click here.