Democratic incumbent Pat Kemp is falling behind in the funding race for the District 6 seat on Hillsborough County Commission — a race that pits her against fellow Commissioner Sandra Murman.
Murman leads Kemp by $147,768 in available cash — Murman has $254,715 on hand while Kemp has just $110,947.
Murman has raised $328,828 so far. She raised $39,450 this period alone, which spanned Aug. 22 through Sept. 4. Kemp has collected $131,998 since the start of her campaign, and brought in $8,955 this period.
Murman’s campaign donors have deep pockets, compared to Kemp’s more grassroots campaign.
Murman’s recent donors include Bryan and Shanna Glazer, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who each donated $1,000. Channelside Capital and Amalie Oil Co. also gave $1,000 donations.
This period was not a big one as far as spending for either candidate. Kemp spent $2,041 and Murman only dished out $1,865.
The race will likely be one of the most competitive down ballot races in Hillsborough County. It’s not often two incumbents share the same ballot. Kemp has an edge of more than 73,000 voters, but Murman has served on the commission longer, potentially giving her access to broader name recognition. And the voter registration edge, while it seems large, only represents 8% of the county’s entire electorate. Independent voters more than fill that gap, representing 29% of the electorate.
The District 6 seat is countywide. Of Hillsborougbouh County’s 913,699 voters, 359,568 are Democrats and 286,335 are Republicans. The county has an additional 267,796 third-party and non-affiliated voters.
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.
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.
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.