Sandra Murman will challenge Pat Kemp in incumbent on incumbent battle for Hillsborough County Commission

Murman's decision ends months of speculation.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman ended speculation about her political future Thursday. The longtime commissioner filed and qualified to run in District 6.

She’ll face incumbent Democrat Pat Kemp, assuming she doesn’t have to wage a primary campaign in the race. Republican Jim Davison is filed to run, but has not yet qualified. He has until Friday at noon to do so.

Kemp has already qualified for reelection.

Until Thursday Murman had been filed to run for Hillsborough County Clerk of the Courts, but wasn’t expected to actually seek the seat. She had about $134,000 parked in that race, all of which she transferred to the County Commission race.

Her entrance sets up what will likely be a heated and competitive race between two incumbents.

Murman has been on the County Commission since 2010, bunking term limits by swapping seats. She didn’t have anyone to swap with this cycle and instead will attempt to unseat Kemp who is completing her first term after first being elected in 2016.

Kemp has so far raised a little over $70,000 in the race and has about $65,000 of that left on hand.

District 6 is a countywide seat. The county favors Democrats over Republicans, 350,654 to 276,464, but there are another 258,688 no party or third party affiliated voters, setting up a competitive contest.

Murman will likely have access to a deep pool of party and special interest money, while Kemp has historically relied on grassroots support to fuel her campaigns. Her 2016 victory came after previous unsuccessful attempts including in 2014.

Florida Politics reached out to both candidates and will update this story if we receive a response.

Kemp’s campaign will likely pit her as a pro-transportation, anti-sprawl candidate who stands in stark contrast to Murman’s track record on issues siding with developers and voting against transportation initiatives pre-2018.

Though Murman is likely to counter that messaging with her more recent support for the All For Transportation sales tax and efforts she led to set aside county money for transportation projects.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

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 [email protected].


  • James P Davison DO

    June 11, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Janelle: I would like to inform you and your readers that I withdrew my candidacy for the Hillsborough BOCC district 6 this morning at 11 am when I first learned of Commissioner Murman’s qualifying. I can tell you I was delighted to see her enter the race and FULLY ENDORSE her for the county wide position on the BOCC district 6. Unlike her opponent, Sandy has always listened to both sides of an issue, has attempted to find innovative solutions where she could and has represented the more rural areas of her district in unincorporated Hillsborough county as well as the Tampa urban area equally. Something her opponent, Kemp, may claim she has done, but has not in reality. You characterized Kemp as pro-transportation and anti-sprawl. A more accurate description is anti-car and the no-growth candidate. Her policies are not even democratic and many of the policies Kemp has championed have been regressive and out right damaging to minorities and the unincorporated areas of Hillsborough. All this and more will be coming out in the next few months, please check the facts and the videos. The county and the people of Hillsborough county will benefit from Sandy Murman as their next commissioner in district 6.
    Jim Davison DO

  • Jerry Lane

    June 12, 2020 at 7:15 am

    We now know our car-centric and dispersed development has kept us safer and healthier during a pandemic. Kemp does not support that healthier, safer model. Kemp wants stack and pack densities that helps spread germs and viruses. Kemp wants to tear down 11 miles of I-275 north of downtown, an evacuation route in Tampa Bay that hundreds of thousands use daily and replace it with a costly rail boulevard few will use. Kemp is not pro-transportation, pro-mobility or pro vehicle health safety. Kemp, a leader with the Sierra Club, is a pro-transit ideologue who wants to force us out of the safety of our vehicles. Kemp does not want our roads improved or widened but wants us packed in a train or bus with strangers that is a germ and virus spreader. Kemp is anti-car, the very thing that has kept us safer and healthier. Hillsborough County voters, who now know our cars kept us safe and healthy, can stop Kemp’s anti-car, pro-transit virus spreading agenda and vote her out in November.

  • Ed

    June 12, 2020 at 9:55 am

    At least Kemp still has her mental faculties. Murman does not. Just listen to her talk. She loses her train of thought, gets confused and cant hold a conversation past two sentences. She avoids meeting with constituents and will not even return calls. She has her staff talk the voters while she only talks to her big money contributors. Even if you are lucky enough to get her to talk to you, she will never follow through on what she promises unless you contribute big money to her campaign or unless it benifits her directly in some way. Murman and her backroom deals are a big reason why the county is so messed up. Just another career politician who does not know when it is time to call it quits. She is not in it for the people, Murman is in it for herself.

  • Scott Derby

    June 17, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    Ed? As in Ed Turanchik? As in Pat Kemp’s puppet master? As in the politico and lobbyist cited by the county attorney for violation of the county’s ordinance regulating lobbying? As in the same lobbyist who sends text messages to elected officials during public meetings? Kemp, architect of a proposal to reduce residential trash pickup services, dismantling roads in favor of nature trails, rejecting federal and state grants to expand transportation infrastructure in favor of a radical dentophile agenda, is the one who appears unhinged during public meetings and who seems unable to put her smartphone down. Sandra Murman is the sane voice for Hillsborough voters.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn