April Griffin drops out of Hillsborough Commisssion race, clearing way for Higginbotham vs. Mulhern showdown

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April Griffin has announced she is dropping out of the race for County Commissioner, reports the Tampa Bay Times. She is ending her campaign to focus on her duties as chair of the Hillsborough County School Board.

Griffin, a Democrat, was running for the at-large District 7 county commission seat now held by term-limited Mark Sharpe. She has represented District 6 on the school board since Nov. 2010, and was elected chair in 2012.

“This has been a very thoughtful decision,” Griffin said when announcing her dropping from the race. “But the campaign required a lot of energy, and I realized that I needed to give my full attention to my job as chairwoman of the eighth-largest school district in the nation.”

The county school system is facing a number of urgent matters, she told reporters, especially the search for a new board attorney and the deaths of two children in the special education program in the past year.

“I want to focus on the job I was elected to do, and that is being a school board member,” Griffin said to the Times.

A resident of Tampa, Griffin been involved in schools for many years, as a member of the PTA and a classroom volunteer.  Prior to her election to the school board, she was a child and senior advocate, as well as a business owner. Griffin also is a contributing author for the educational issues book “Who’s Schooling Who?”

Democratic Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern and Republican County Commissioner Al Higginbotham both remain in the District 7race. Term-limited Higginbotham currently represents eastern Hillsborough in the District 4 seat.

According to the Times, Griffin has not yet decided if she will run for re-election for her school board seat in 2014.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.