Tampa City Council District 7 candidate Jim Davison says he has returned that $1,000 contribution sent to him last month by the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee.
“The money was returned last week after we talked,” Davison emailed SPB on Wednesday afternoon.
His response comes after Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Chair Ione Townsend announced she had filed a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission against Davison, asking that the agency look into the $1,000 campaign contribution made by the Hillsborough Republican Party to Davison’s campaign last month. As SaintPetersBlog initially reported, the contribution is a violation of the Tampa City Charter, which says that a candidate for municipal office “shall not solicit or accept party funds or endorsements.”
“The issue is by soliciting and or accepting a contribution from a political party it sends a message to voters that this candidate is supported and backed by that party,” Townsend said in a statement. “That creates an uneven playing field both monetarily and in the voter’s eye that one candidate is preferred by one party.”
Davison is the lone Republican in the six-person field running for the north Tampa council seat. In one of the few public polls taken during the race, Davison led with 27 percent support, though 36 percent said that they weren’t certain about who they preferred.
While such a campaign contribution isn’t permitted, the Florida Elections Commission has previously said it would not investigate until it received an actual complaint, which has now happened.
The $1,000 contribution is still listed on the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections website as of late Wednesday afternoon.
Davison is running against Cyril Spiro, Gene Siudut, Luis Viera, Orlando Gudes and Avis Harrison in the Nov. 8 election. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will participate in a runoff election next month.