Sean Shaw will be returning to Tallahassee next year, representing Hillsborough County’s House District 61, which encompasses Ybor City, Tampa Heights, Seminole Heights, and East Tampa.
In an incredibly tight race, the Tampa attorney defeated East Tampa activist and businesswoman Dianne Hart, getting 42.71 percent of the vote to Hart’s 41.92 percent. Shaw received 6,696 votes to Hart’s 6,572.
Environmental engineer and vocational trainer Walter Smith finished in third place with 15 percent of the vote.
Shaw was backed by the influential Florida Sentinel-Bulletin, the Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus, and outgoing Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner.
Hart had the backing of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, former Police Chief Jane Castor, the West Central Florida Federation of Labor, and the Tampa Bay Times editorial page, but it wasn’t enough at the end.
With no Republican running in the heavily Democratic-oriented district, Shaw will advance to Tallahassee next year. He’s a Tally native who worked in the state Capitol as a state insurance consumer advocate when Charlie Crist was governor.