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Yolie Capin decides against County Commission run

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa City Councilwoman Yolie Capin will not run for the Hillsborough County District 1 seat in 2018.

The longest-serving member of the Council, Capin announced Friday she will not run for the seat she announced earlier that she would seek. Term-limited out in 2019, Capin will chair philanthropist David Straz‘s just-announced mayoral exploratory committee.

Hillsborough Democrats welcomed the news, fearing a divisive primary race between Capin and state Representative Janet Cruz, who recently announced she will run in District 1.

The 67-year-old Capin said Cruz’ entry into the race had nothing to do with her opting not to run for the District 1 seat, which encompasses South Tampa, much of Town ‘n’ Country and West Tampa, and much of the South Shore area.

“As I looked at it closer, I’ve realized I’ve done a lot for my city, and thought I could add that to the county,” Capin said Friday morning. “My heart is in the city. I have lived my entire life in the city.”

“My friend and fellow Democrat Yolie Capin, has been a fantastic servant, and I look forward to getting her input on issues as we forge ahead on the campaign,” Cruz said.

Capin spoke early Friday morning after getting just a few hours of sleep. The City Council held a marathon seven-hour budget hearing that ended with it raising the property tax rate in Tampa for the first time in 29 years.

Capin announced her candidacy four months ago, but said she wouldn’t be holding her first fundraiser for the commission seat until the fall, when she planned to hold it at Richard Gonzmart‘s newest restaurant, just as she did back in 2014 when she held her kickoff fundraiser event at Ulele‘s. The lack of fundraising (up to now) led some to speculate that she would not run, but she said Friday that her game plan was never to begin fundraising until fall.

Capin was originally selected by the Tampa City Council to replace Linda Saul-Sena in District 3. After initially saying she wouldn’t run in 2011, she changed her mind and won the District 4 seat versus a crowded field. She easily won re-election in 2015.

Aakash Patel, the lone Republican in the District 1 race, has already raised more than $180,000 in the race through his campaign account and political committee. He says he aims to raise $200,000 by this weekend, when the filing period for the third quarter ends.

Capin still has another year and a half on the Council and she says she looks forward to continue helping the city, which, after the passage of the budget, will include some financially hard times.

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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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