Tampa Republican Aakash Patel notched another significant endorsement for his Hillsborough County Commission campaign Tuesday, this time from Attorney General Pam Bondi.
“I am happy to offer my support and endorsement to Aakash Patel as he makes his initial run for Hillsborough County Commission,” Bondi said. “I have known Aakash since he returned to Tampa after graduating from Florida State University. I know he will put forth every effort to apply his conservative beliefs and principles in all that he does.”
Bondi, a Hillsborough native, is the latest in a long line of Tampa Bay-area electeds to endorse Patel. Prior endorsements include U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, former House Speaker Will Weatherford and Zephyrhills Rep. Danny Burgess.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to have the support and endorsement of Attorney General Pam Bondi. I believe the voters of Hillsborough County understand her leadership is so helpful in advancing conservative causes and public servants to carry those causes forward. I am very honored to have her support,” Patel said.
Patel, who runs business consulting firm Elevate, Inc., is running for the countywide District 7 commission seat currently held by retiring Commissioner Al Higginbotham. He had previously been a candidate for the District 1 seat held by Commissioner Sandy Murman, who was expected to resign her seat early and make her own run in District 7.
Patel had raised more than $450,000 for his District 1 campaign before switching over to the District 7 race. He is one of ten candidates vying for the open seat, though only Republican attorney Todd Marks — also a former District 1 candidate — and Democrat Kimberly Overman have posted any substantive fundraising numbers.
Also running are Democrats Ray Chiaramonte, Charles Davis III, Mark Nash, Corey Reynolds and Sky White as well as Republican Cherie Denham and Green Party candidate Kim O’Connor.
The District 7 seat will be on the 2018 ballot alongside Districts 2, 4 and 5, all three of which feature an incumbent Republican running for re-election.