Al Higginbotham edges out Hillsborough County Commission victory despite Pat Kemp early voter turnout lead

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Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham won’t be leaving the board despite being term limited out of his current seat.

In a narrow victory over Democrat Pat Kemp, Higginbotham eeked by with 51 percent of the vote.

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.

Much of the campaign between the two candidates revolved around transit issues. Kemp touted herself as an astute proponent of mass transit while Higginbotham repeatedly bragged that he had spoken against a failed 2010 transit referendum dozens of times.

That measure was similar to the Greenlight Pinellas initiative in Pinellas that also failed tonight.

Higginbotham will replace term limited commissioner Mark Sharpe for the district 7 countywide seat.

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 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