Democrat Ron Vatalaro drops out of HD 57 race


Ruskin resident Ron Vatalaro‘s short stint as a Democratic candidate for the Legislature has ended.

That means Hillsborough County Democrats are again now looking at the possibility of allowing House District 57 GOP incumbent Jake Raburn to win re-election without any opposition.

Vatalaro filed at the end of January to run against Raburn in the Hillsborough County seat, but told Florida Politics Wednesday that he was withdrawing, citing a lack of time and money.

“I want to strongly encourage anyone with the desire to run to do so and offer my full personal support so that District 57 get a choice in representation,” Vatalaro wrote in an email.

His decision to step down is a blow to the Hillsborough County Democratic Party, which has not been able to field a candidate to challenge Raburn since he first ran and won the seat against Democrat Bruce Barnett in 2012.

Born in Tampa and raised in Plant City, the 33-year-old Raburn works at Hinton Farms, a midsize strawberry producer. He’s raised $25,020 so far in his bid for a fourth and final term.

HD 57 encompasses FishHawk Ranch, Sun City Center, Wimauma and parts of Bloomingdale and Riverview in southeast Hillsborough.

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]


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