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Pat Kemp to launch reelection campaign tonight with local Dems by her side

Kemp isn’t yet, but could face a Republican challenger.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp is kicking off her reelection campaign at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on the rooftop of the Beck building at 220 W. Seventh Ave. near Armature Works.

Kemp’s campaign suggests a minimum contribution of $100. The state maximum contribution in Kemp’s race is $1,000.

Kemp’s honorary host committee includes a who’s who of local elected officials, current and former candidates for office and former elected officials. That includes Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez, Hillsborough County Commissioners Kimberly Overman and Mariella Smith, Tampa City Council members Bill Carlson, John Dingfelder and Guido Maniscalco, Reps. Fentrice Driskell and Susan Valdes, former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, former Hillsborough County Commissioner and Clerk of the Circuit Court candidate Kevin Beckner, former Tampa mayoral candidate Ed Turanchik, former Tampa City Council members Mary Mulhern and Linda Saul-Sena, State Attorney Andrew Warren, Hillsborough County Tax Collector candidate and former School Board member April Griffin and former Reps. Jim Davis and Sean Shaw.

The host committee includes more than 60 local donors and supporters, including former Florida House candidate Bob Buesing and his wife, Karen Buesing, Sierra Club leader Kent Bailey, attorneys Erin Abel and Ron Christaldi, transportation and urban design advocates Rick Fernandez, Josh Frank and Taryn Sabia, former Pinellas Democratic Party Chair Mark Hanisee, All For Transportation Chair Tyler Hudson, cannabis activist Joe Redner and current Hillsborough Democratic Party Chair Ione Townsend, among many others.

Kemp is running for reelection in 2020. She was first elected in 2016 after previous failed attempts. She is so far the only candidate officially filed for her District 6 countywide seat. Kemp has raised less than $2,000 for her reelection so far.

Rumors are starting to form about District 1 incumbent Sandy Murman challenging Kemp in 2020. Murman is leaving her district because of term limits. She is filed to run for the Hillsborough County Clerk of Court job, which is opening when Pat Frank leaves at the end of her term, but Murman is widely expected not to run for that seat, leaving her next political move in question.

Kemp first won the seat against Republican Tim Schock by more than 10 points, replacing fellow Democrat Beckner on the board. Kemp’s first two years were slow as she was in the minority party with five Republicans and just two Democrats. But 2018 shifted the makeup restoring a Democratic majority of 4-3, opening the door for Kemp to emerge as a powerful ally for transit activists. Republicans include Murman, Stacy White and Ken Hagan. Democrats include Kemp, veteran Commissioner Les Miller and newcomers Smith and Overman.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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