Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman confirmed to SPB on Monday that she will leave her District 1 seat in 2018 to run for another four-year term in District 7, the countywide seat that will be open with the previously announced retirement of Al Higginbotham.
News of Murman’s switch was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times William March.
In switching seats, Murman becomes the second current member of the BOCC to announce that they hope to extend their political career by running for a different seat. District 5 Commissioner Ken Hagan is term-limited out next year, but announced last month that he will run for the District 2 seat in 2018.
Murman disputes the notion that she is pushing the boundaries of term limits by running for the District 7 seat, since she will, in fact, be leaving her District 1 seat less than two years after being re-elected to it last fall.
“With so many major projects and issues that we have tackled on the County Commission, I want to see them through to the end,” she said on Monday, emphasizing transportation and economic development as being two such issues. “I just want to make sure that there’s continuity as we go forward.”
A third BOCC board member, District 2 Commissioner Victor Crist, may also run for a different four-year term next year. He is term-limited from running again and is eyeing a run at the District 5 seat that Hagan will be term-limited out of.
The opening in District 1 could pave the way for a Democrat to join the board, which is currently 5-2 Republicans to Democrats.
The district is considered a moderate seat that was held by Kathy Castor from 2002-2006, followed by Rose Ferlita from 2006-2010. It encompasses South Tampa (where the last three members have lived), West Tampa, Town ‘N’ Country, Egypt Lake and other parts of Northeast Hillsborough, as well as parts of South Hillsborough County. Among those strongly considered to be looking at running for the seat is Janet Cruz, the Democratic House Minority Leader in Tallahassee who is term limited out of her HD 62 seat next year.
Murman, a former state legislator, defeated Democrat John Dingfelder for the open District 1 seat in 2010. She then had to run again in 2012, where she won easily without an opponent. She won again last fall, defeating Democrat Jeff Zampitella.