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Alan Clendenin leads all Hillsborough County school board candidates in fundraising

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Although he was one of the last candidates to enter the race for school board in Hillsborough County this year, Alan Clendenin leads all of them in fundraising, new reports show.

The District 7 candidate brought in $8,285 from June 1-24, and has raised more than $45,000 since getting into the contest on May 6. The next closest in fundraising in District 7 is Stanley Gray, who has brought in $34,150.

Clendenin retired in 2012 from a career working as an air traffic controller but has been heavily involved in Democratic Party politics for a long time. He’s currently a member of the Democratic National Committee and is the first vice chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

District 7 is an open seat, which is why it has attracted the most candidate of any of the four school board seats up for election this year. Incumbent Carol Kurdell has held the seat since 1992.

In addition to Clendenin and Gray, the other candidates in the contest include Lynn Gray, Carlos Frontera, Cathy James, Joe Caetano, Norene Copeland Miller, and Green Party co-founder Randy Toler.

The next most populous contest is in District 5, where another incumbent, Dorothea Edgecomb, has announced she will not run for reelection.

Joe Robinson leads in fundraising in that race with more than $15,000 raised. He’s running against Lynette Tracee Judge, Jacqueline Coffie Leeks, Tarance Delento LeNoir and Tamara Shamburger.  

There are two other school board seats on the ballot on Aug.30, and they include two of the four members of the board who voted to oust MaryEllen Elia from her position as superintendent back in early 2015.

Cindy Stuart has only one challenger in her re-election bid for her District 3 seat, Alicia Toler. Stuart has raised $15,523 in the race, and Toler $3,878.

Incumbent Susan Valdes leads in fundraising in her bid for reelection in District 1. She has raised $28,285. Her lone challenger is retired principal and school district administrator Bill Person.  Person has raised $8,825.

The candidates in District 3 and District 7 will engage in a forum at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club Friday, July 15.

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

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