Dianne Hart still considering taking on Sean Shaw in 2018



State Rep. Sean Shaw is blasting four Hillsborough County Commissioners who supported keeping a Confederate monument in Tampa, vowing a “personal mission” to actively campaign against one or more of them in 2018.

At the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee meeting last week, the Tampa Democrat, who represents House District 61, promised to take time out next year to campaign against at least one of those Republicans vying for re-election.

Presumably, he will be doing that on the side, as most of Shaw’s energy will go into winning re-election to his own seat, where Dianne Hart, the woman he narrowly defeated in last year’s Democratic primary, is seriously contemplating a rematch.

“Everyday in the community I’m asked if I plan on doing it again, and I’m garnering support from folks everywhere,” says Hart, a longtime East Tampa businesswoman and activist who fell just 101 votes short of defeating Shaw in the Democratic primary almost exactly one year ago.

“I haven’t taken my eyes off the prize,” Hart says, adding she’ll decide on whether to run again sometime before the end of the year.

Since she didn’t get until last year’s contest until the springtime, Hart notes that if she should run, it will be well in advance of the August primary.

“The community thinks I absolutely should run,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Shaw is working hard to maintain his seat, holding regular town-hall meetings throughout the district this summer, which encompasses much of central and east Tampa, as well as Palm River and Progress Village. And he’s proud of his accomplishments during last spring’s Sessions, his first, which included getting funding for the historic Cuban Club in Ybor City and the Florida Community Catalyst Project, part of the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa (CDC).

Hart isn’t impressed.

“I saw he got some money for the Cuban club, at the end of the day, how many African-Americans even know where it’s located?” she asked, saying, “It doesn’t serve anybody from my community or from around here.”

Hart admits she didn’t follow what Shaw was up to that closely during Session, something that Shaw said was evident in hearing her disparage his first term in office.

When asked for comment, he laughed, saying that as for the election next year: “I look forward to the time to explain my record to the constituents of House District 61 in all aspects.”

Shaw was more outspoken in talking to fellow Democrats last week when expressing anger over the way Hillsborough County Commissioners handled the Confederate monument issue. Four Republican commissioners voted — on two different occasions — to keep the monument in Tampa; the second vote was predicated on the county getting $140,000 in private funding to move it (which eventually happened).

“If those four commissioners who are on the ballot feel comfortable making a vote multiple times, to keep a monument to slavery next to the courthouse, they’re insulting you,” he said at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County last Monday. “They’re telling you that they’re not scared of your vote, they’re not scared about what you’re going to do in reaction to that. Show ‘em that’s not true and take one of them out.”

Shaw added that he would make it a “personal mission” to work on one of those campaigns.

“I was offended, not just as a black man, but as an American,” he said.

Correction: The original title of this story was called, “Sean Shaw vows to take on Confederate Monument; Diane Hart not Impressed.”

That was incorrect, as it falsely conflated Hart’s comment about not being impressed by what Shaw was doing in the district this summer with his advocacy against the Confederate monument. Hart was never asked in our interview about the Confederate monument. She was asked her thoughts about Shaw and whether she was considering running against him in 2018.

After the publication of this article, Hart contacted FloridaPolitics.com, saying that she wanted to make it perfectly clear that she has no issue with Sean Shaw’s advocacy supporting the removal of a Confederate monument in Hillsborough County, and resented anyone thinking that she does.

FP initially contacted Hart last week to inquire if she was going to challenge Shaw in 2018. She said that she wasn’t very focused on politics at the moment, however, as her son-in-law had just recently died. She said “I’m just trying to help my daughter and my granddaughter get back to some normalcy so I can continue on with my own personal life.”

She added that even with those stresses, she is continuously asked by members of the community if she will run against him in 2018.

At the end of the article, it was noted that Shaw had said that he was offended at the Hillsborough County Commission’s recent votes on the Confederate monument that he said he was personally considering campaigning against at least one of the Republican commissioners who will be running on the ballot in 2018.

Though that part of the story was exclusively about Shaw, Hart said it unfairly impugns her because she is part of the rest of the story (and because of the title).  This reporter never spoke with her about the monument, to be clear. FloridaPolitics regrets if there is somehow an implication that she was asked about issue. She was not. However, the title of the article indicated otherwise. FloridaPolitcs regrets the error, and has changed the title of the story.



Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected]


  • james shillinglaw

    August 30, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Sean Shaw is the type of politician that bothers me the most. He is using his position in politic’s to achieve a person agenda and NOT the will of the people. The people support the Monuments and want them as is and want them protected. Sean Shaw doesn’t like the monuments, which if fine, but he refuses to listen to the will of the people and do his job according what we what,

    • Fred Remington

      August 30, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Do you really think the people of House District 61 — Representative Shaw’s Constituents — want to keep the Confederate Monuments?

      You’re clearly a respected litterateur in the fields of demographics and opinion research…

    • Celeste Judge

      August 30, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      James, I’m always amazed when people like you say the will of the people want the statue to stay! I don’t have a problem with the statues staying, but with that comes some hard truth! The whole story must be told! We also need a statue of The Auction Block of slaves being bought and sold, we also need a statue of slaves being lynched. And on the wall, a mural of slaves (my ancestors) picking cotton from sun up to sundown. That is the South, American history.

  • Douglas Guetzloe

    August 30, 2017 at 8:54 am

    It will be interesting to watch the quixotic ill-fated crusade of Mr. Shaw as he campaigns throughout the county among the 75% that want to keep the monument where it is. I’m certain that he will receive a warm welcome in those cinfines that comprise nearly all of Hillsborough County. He apparently needs to be more concerned with winning his own primary than he does on the elusive goal of defeating the County Commissioners who courageous voted correctly to keep the monument where it was.

  • Justin Waters

    August 30, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Andrew Young, a former mayor of Atlanta and lifelong African-American civil rights activist, says the memorials should stay. Removing memorials to Confederate veterans is not a real civil rights issue. It’s just a campaign issue because it appeals to young activist who think its more fun to play capture the flag than work with the boring legal and quantitative data related to policy issues that actually affect people’s lives. If you are actually concerned with civil rights, listen to the wisdom of Andrew Young. He claims removing memorials is counterproductive because it will reduce allies and may result in a right-wing backlash.

    • Fred Remington

      August 30, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Well if ANDREW YOUNG thinks the Confederate Monument should stay in Tampa, FL, why should anyone worry about the opinions of the cities own residents?!

      I mean, ANDREW YOUNG, for crying out loud!

      You know what they say? As goes Andrew Young, so goes Tampa, FL.

  • Andy G Strickland

    August 30, 2017 at 11:24 am

    The majority of people want the monuments left alone. Leave Washington and Jefferson alone. The excuses and blame these knuckleheads give for their own failings….

    • Fred Remington

      August 30, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Hey, the Lost Cause mythology teaches us that the Confederates fought for States’ rights and local self-determination.

      Perhaps those poor souls fighting against local efforts to remove these monuments should take solace in the fact that even now, 152 years after the Civil War, those rights are alive and well.

Comments are closed.


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