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Brian Willis posts big fundraising numbers vs. Pat Kemp in District 6 Hillsborough County Commission contest

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Ten days ago, Florida Politics reported that Brian Willis, the Tampa attorney who is running for the countywide Hillsborough County District 6 seat next year, had raised $45, 357 in his first month of campaigning for the seat.

Advisers for Willis said it was the third best first-month of fundraising for a county commissioner candidate over the past decade, trailing only Al Higginbotham and Ken Hagan’s totals during their respective runs for office last year, both of whom were well known quantities in the county at that point in their careers.

That number appears more significant now with respect to the fact that one of his Willis’ Democratic Primary opponents, environmental activist Pat Kemp, raised only $1,350 during the first quarter of this year.

Although Kemp said that she made the decision to run for the District 6 in 2016 shortly after her narrow defeat to Al Higginbotham in the District 7 countywide election last November, she did not file papers to run until the middle of last month. Then again, Willis only filed a few days earlier than that.

Unavailable for comment on Monday evening, Kemp told Florida Politics back in April that she was the strongest Democrat in the District 6 race, having been battle tested against Higginbotham, a well-known figure in Hillsborough politics who outspent her by over $250,000, yet defeated her by less than one percentage point.

Marisol Blanco, the third Democrat who has filed to run in the Democratic Primary, reported no contributions during the first quarter of 2015.

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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