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Sandy Murman cruises to victory over Jeff Zampitella in Hillsborough County Commission

Incumbent Sandra Murman cruised to victory Tuesday over Democrat Jeff Zampitella in the Hillsborough County Commission District 1 race.

With 69 of 86 precincts reporting, Murman held a 57-43 percent lead over Zampitella.

“I knew this was going to be a tough cycle, so we ran a whole campaign all the way,” she said. “A lot of people in my district have benefitted from the hard work I’ve done on their behalf, and I think that showed.”

Murman, a longtime political fixture in Hillsborough, was elected to the County Commission in 2010 after serving eight years in the Florida House. She was re-elected without opposition to the commission in 2012.

Zampitella, a commercial airline pilot, has been active in neighborhood issues and associations. He was a strong opponent of the $6 billion Tampa Bay Express transportation plan known as TBX. He also served on Tampa’s Downtown Partnership parking task force.

Murman has supported TBX, which Zampitella tried to use against her in the campaign. Murman also advocates expanded bus service and use of the new Cross Bay Ferry.

Zampitella faced long odds from the outset. Murman raised more than $300,000 and had strong name recognition, far more than Zampitella.

He banked his chances on competing in a diverse district that runs from Lutz in northern Hillsborough to Ruskin in the south part of the county.

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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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