By Matt Wiley
With the biggest political event of the year now but a memory, the final results from the August 14 primary election in Hillsborough County have finally been posted.
New Tampa voted, along with the rest of Hillsborough County, to see who will face off against whom in the November general election. The Aug. 14 “primaries” also helped fill a few seats in so-called “universal primaries” and non-partisan elections.
Of the more than 35,000 registered voters in New Tampa’s 12 voting precincts, only about 13 percent cast ballots, which was slightly lower than the voter turnout percentage for the rest of the county, which the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office reported at nearly 16 percent, or only about 13,000 out of nearly 700,000 registered voters.
A few New Tampa precincts —namely #s 357, 358 and 361 — had higher voter turnout percentages than the county as a whole, each precinct with more than 17-percent of its registered voters casting ballots.
Many of the public offices on the primary ballot will still have to be decided in November, such as the District 63 State Representative race, which will see the Democratic primary winner, New Tampa resident Mark Danish, squaring off against incumbent Rep. Shawn Harrison (R-New Tampa).
“(The primary) campaign went very well,” says Danish, fresh off his win at the polls against opponent ZJ Hafeez. “We had a good ‘ground game’ and had a lot of contact with people. I’m going to continue to campaign and get the word out. I think I’m a good person to represent the area.”
Danish took 61 percent of the vote in all of the precincts that voted for the seat. He took 57 percent of the vote in New Tampa’s 12 precincts.
Some of the primary winners will get to sit back and watch the November elections knowing that they’ve already been elected, such as District 2 County Commissioner Victor Crist (R-New Tampa), who won his universal primary against Sharon Calvert by a large margin, with Crist grabbing 63 percent of the vote.
“I’m honored and humbled by it,” he says. “It’s a good feeling knowing that people are recognizing the job I’m doing.”
Crist (61 percent overall, 66.3 percent in New Tampa) says that relying upon his past performance on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), and not on promises for the future is what he thinks helped solidify his re-election.
“We also had good ‘grassroots’ organization,” he explains. “We knocked on a lot of doors and shook a lot of hands.”
Also thanking a “grassroots campaign” was Cindy Stuart, the newly elected District 2 Hillsborough County School Board member, who solidly defeated (57 percent-43 percent, 59.5 percent to 40.5 percent in New Tampa) the incumbent, long-time School Board member Jack Lamb.
“The incumbent out-fund-raised us,” Stuart says. “So, we tried to get to as many events as possible, including the New Tampa Rotary Pigfest and the Taste of New Tampa. We took advantage of every chance that we could to talk to people.”
New Tampa also voted in several other important county-wide races, including for Hillsborough County’s Supervisor of Elections, in which Craig Latimer narrowly beat out Thomas Scott with just more than 52 percent of the vote. Latimer (52 percent countywide, 53.5 percent in New Tampa) will face Rich Glorioso (R-Plant City) in the general election in November to replace current supervisor Earl Lennard, come November.
In addition to Dist. 2 County Commissioner, our area also voted for the Dist. 6 Republican nominee on the November ballot, another close race in which Margaret Iuculano squeaked by Don Kruse with 52 percent of the vote, although she grabbed an impressive 63.7 percent in New Tampa. She will go on to face Democratic incumbent Kevin Beckner in the November general election.
The Dist. 7 School Board seat also was up for grabs, but, with seven names on the ballot, the race was close enough that Carol Kurdell (nearly 36 percent of the vote) has to go up against runner-up Terry Kemple (19 percent) in a runoff that will appear on the November ballot as well.
The New Tampa August primary voting results by precinct for many of the public offices can be seen in the accompanying chart. Congratulations to all of the winners and don’t forget to get out to the ballot boxes on Tuesday, November 6!
For more information, including full results in all of the races contested on August 14 for all of Hillsborough County, please visit VoteHillsborough.org.