Lynn Gray only incumbent to survive Hillsborough School Board purge

Hillsborough-County-School-Board-District-7
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.

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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.



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