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Sean Shaw narrowly defeats Dianne Hart in House District 61 race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Sean Shaw will be returning to Tallahassee next year, representing Hillsborough County’s House District 61, which encompasses  Ybor City, Tampa Heights, Seminole Heights and East Tampa

In an incredibly tight race, the Tampa attorney has defeated East Tampa activist and businesswoman Dianne Hart, getting 42.71 percent of the vote to Hart’s 41.92 percent. Shaw received 6,696 votes to Hart’s 6,572.

Environmental engineer and vocational trainer Walter Smith finished in third place with 15 percent of the vote.

Shaw was backed by the influential Florida Sentinel-Bulletin, the Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus, and outgoing Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner.

Hart had the back of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, former Police Chief Jane Castor, the West Central Florida Federation of Labor and the Tampa Bay Times editorial page, but it wasn’t enough at the end.

With no Republican running in the heavily Democratic oriented district, Shaw will advance to Tallahassee next year. He’s a Tally native who worked in the state capitol as a state insurance consumer advocate when Charlie Crist was governor.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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