Al Higginbotham out raises Pat Kemp times three

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Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham raised more than three times his opponent for the District 7 seat being vacated by commissioner Mark Sharpe due to term limits.

Higginbotham raised a total of $366,272 throughout his entire campaign. His opponent, former Hillsborough Democratic Party chair Pat Kemp, only brought in $102,100.

Kemp has just shy of $8,000 left in her campaign coffers as Tuesday’s Election Day looms just around the corner. Higginbotham has more than $12,000 left.

Higginbotham managed to bring in more than $27,000 during the final 12-days of fundraising from October 18-30. He raked in $1,000 checks from several Tampa Bay area attorneys as well as The HCA North Florida Division and the Building a Better Florida PAC.

Higginbotham spent $62,847 during that same period. He doled out more than $30,000 for mailers and another $25,000 for media advertising.

Kemp raised $16,048 during the final fundraising push. Most of her contributions came by way of smaller checks from individuals. She collected checks from Tampa strip club mogul Joe Redner and his beer brewer son Joey. The Sierra Club’s Frank Jackalone, Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern and former city council member Linda Saul-Sena all contributed as well.

Large donations rolled in from a local plumber’s union and the Emerge USA state PAC. Both kicked in $1,000. The group Democracy for America donated $500 and Kemp herself wrote a check to her campaign for $3,000.

Kemp spent $17,862. Most of that spending was on campaign mailers. She spent $2,000 to have Polyphonic Image produce a commercial.

About 195,000 voters have already cast a ballot in Hillsborough County. Unlike Pinellas, more Democrats have voted than Republicans. That could be good news for Kemp. Typically early voting favors Republicans.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.