For the first time in many an election cycle in Hillsborough County, the contests in what are referred to as the “constitutional offices” – Clerk of the Court, Property Appraiser and State Attorney – are being fiercely contested as the calendar moves into May (the Sheriffs office is another such office, but no Democrat is challenging incumbent David Gee).
Republican incumbent Mark Ober was elected in what was an open seat in the State Attorney’s office back in 2000, and has never seriously been challenged since.
That might be different this year, as the 64-year-old Republican is being challenged by 39-year-old former federal prosecutor Andrew Warren.
Uber’s chair of his campaign finance committee, prominent Tampa businesswoman John Sykes, sent out a fundraising email on Wednesday, making the ask for Ober’s supporters to keep on writing checks for the incumbent.
“Every year over 80,000 cases are handled by his office,” Sykes writes.”Even with a shortage of staff due to budget constraints, Mark’s office continues to be effective and efficient in their mission. Simply stated, this has contributed to a lower crime rate in our community. Mark has announced his intention to run to continue the remarkable success of his office. Hillsborough County needs his continued strong leadership. He needs your most generous financial support.”
And Ober received some in March, when he raised nearly $42,000, his best fundraising month since last October, when he officially filed for re-election. Included in his tally were $1,000 contributions from Ironworkers Local 397 and Ralph Fernandez, the prominent attorney and anti-Castro brothers critic. He’s now raised $180,925 to date.
Warren has raised slightly more than $127,000 to date.