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Kimberly Overman says Hillsborough can’t survive under GOP

Hillsborough County Commission candidate Kimberly Overman wants to flip the political makeup of the board this election.

She’s running to replace Republican Al Higginbotham. He’s not seeking re-election.

“We have had a Republican led County Commission for well over ten years and if we continue that trend we will not survive in a competitive world,” Overman says in a 30-second ad pushed on Facebook.

Of the Hillsborough County Commission’s seven districts, five are held by Republicans.

Two Democrats are waging competitive battles to turn the board into a 4-3 Democratic majority — Overman and Mariella Smith.

Smith is running against incumbent Republican Victor CristOverman is running against Republican Todd Marks in the countywide District 7.

“It’s time that we had leadership on that board that represents our democratic values — taking care of our citizens, allowing citizens to succeed and allowing us to invest in the future for the citizens of Hillsborough County,” Overman says in the ad.

Marks and Crist are taking their challengers seriously. The two have co-purchased campaign mailers attacking both Democratic candidates based on their ties to the Democratic Party.

Two Halloween-themed mailers went out last week accusing the two of supporting massive tax hikes, among other conservative talking points.

Information in the ad was mostly misleading or inaccurate.

Overman’s ad shows her sitting in an office with two “clients.” Overman is a small business owner and certified financial planner.

“The experience I have and the work that I’ve done over the last 30 something years has prepared me to lead in a way that will serve our citizens,” Overman said.

Countywide seats can be challenging for Democrats in Hillsborough. Unlike single-member districts, all Hillsborough residents can vote in the Overman/Marks matchup. That means residents in mostly conservative areas in rural parts of the county and in the Brandon area give Republicans a sound base of support.

But Higginbotham only narrowly won re-election against Pat Kemp four years ago. Kemp was subsequently elected to District 6 two years ago to replace Kevin Beckner who is also a Democrat.  

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 Patch.com 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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