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Kimberly Overman trailing Todd Marks in Hillsborough District 7 campaign cash

Todd Marks is leading the campaign finance charge in the Hillsborough County District 7 race by more than double, according to the most recent campaign finance reports available.

Marks has raised $244,000 as of the end of September. His closest competitor, Democrat Kimberly Overman, raised $112,000. A Green Party candidate, Kim “Klarc” O’Connor, has just $26,000.

Marks pulled in $68,000 during the last two weeks of September. He received 106 individual contributions, half of which were for the maximum allowable under Florida election law, $1,000.

Only five of his contributions were for less than $100.

Marks took a surprise victory in the Republican Primary for the countywide seat after being massively outraised by Aakash Patel who pulled in nearly $500,000 during the campaign. He’s running for the seat currently occupied Republican Al Higginbotham who is not seeking re-election.

Marks, a Tampa attorney, brought in dozens of contributions from real estate and land development companies and groups. He also received several notable contributions including $1,000 each from the Kimmins Corporation and Kimmins Construction. Friends of Dana Young, a political action committee supporting Florida Senator Dana Young and other conservative candidates, donated $1,000.

TECO also dropped $1,000 on the conservative candidate.

Marks spent $3,400 during the most recent campaign finance reporting period. Of that about $1,900 went to Lutz-based Swift Advisory Services for campaign work and $1,250 to political consultant and former defeated Hillsborough County School Board candidate Kelso Tanner for campaign consulting.

Marks has $83,000 left in his campaign coffers.

His closest competition, Overman, only has $12,000 left in the bank. She raised $35,000 during the final two weeks of September and spent $36,000.

Overman received 83 individual contributions including a $20,000 cash infusion from the Hillsborough County Democratic Party. More than a third of Overman’s contributions were from Hillsborough County residents who cut checks for less than $100 each.

The Plumbers and Pipefitters political action committee dropped $1,000 on the Democrat, as they’ve done in other local races supporting Democrats. Tampa City Council members Luis Viera and Harry Cohen each contributed $100 and $250, respectively. Cohen is running to replace Bob Buckhorn as Tampa Mayor.

Ray Chiaramonte, former executive director of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority and Overman’s former opponent in the County Commission primary, donated $100.

Current Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp kicked in $250 and Gilbert Sainz, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner’s husband, donated $250.

Overman also received $500 from a Democratic Muslim group and two local workers unions.

Overman spent $20,000 on advertising with Visual Communications in Tampa, $12,000 to State Craft Digital in Orlando for digital campaign material and $2,000 to Tampa-based Good Guy Signs.

O’Connor also spent money on advertising with the USF Oracle ($1,500) and the Osprey Observer ($400). Those two ad buys are strategic moves for a liberal Green Party candidate trying to capture young and environmentally conscious voters.

Though the countywide seat Overman and O’Connor are seeking has been held by a Republican for more than a decade, an increase in voter engagement during the Trump-era could give liberal candidates a decent shot by capturing higher percentages of the urban votes in the downtown core and lower-income communities.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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