Lynn Gray only incumbent to survive Hillsborough School Board purge

Tammy Shamburger and Steve Cona were both ousted Tuesday night.

By a 54% to 46% vote, incumbent board member Lynn Gray defeated former board member Sally Harris in the race for the District 7 seat on the Hillsborough County School Board.

This is a countywide seat for which Gray sought a second term. Harris was a member of the School Board from 2014 to 2018.

Gray has decades of experience in public and private education, while Harris is the owner of Circle C Ranch Academy. Harris had been criticized for having support from conservative PACs, and was also under fire earlier this year for allegedly sharing a racist, anti-mask meme on Facebook.

It has been a tough year for Hillsborough School Board incumbents. None of the three running for reelection in 2020 received the 50% primary threshold vote that would have prevented a runoff. In fact, not one of the three even came in first. This is most likely due to frustration over COVID-19-related policies regarding both e-learning and reopening of schools amid the pandemic.

Gray has largely remained above the fray, even as her fellow incumbents saw a great deal of criticism in recent months.

The Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association endorsed Gray, as did the Tampa Bay Times. She was, in fact, the only incumbent to be endorsed by the Times.

Gray also had a cash advantage, but it wasn’t massive. She raised $89,650 to Harris’ $80,229.

Kate Bradshaw

Kate Bradshaw is a Florida-based journalist, writer and editor. She is a former staff writer at the Tampa Tribune news/politics editor at Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.


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, Drew Dixon, 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