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Early voting begins for Hillsborough special elections

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Early voting started Friday and will continue through Oct. 7 for a pair of special elections in Hillsborough County, one that could determine Temple Terrace’s next mayor and another to decide the GOP nominee in HD 58.

Those looking to vote early can head to the Fred B. Karl County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., 16th Floor, Tampa; Robert L. Gilder Elections Service Center, 2514 N. Falkenburg Rd., Tampa; Temple Terrace Public Library, 202 Bullard Pkwy., Temple Terrace; Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City.

All four locations will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of early voting. Voters looking request a mail ballot have until Oct. 4 to do so through the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections office.

When Election Day rolls around on Oct. 10, voters must head to their assigned polling place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Those unsure of their polling place can visit at or call 813-744-5900

Three candidates are running in the Temple Terrace mayoral primary: David Ganessingh, Mel Jurado and Linda Ormsbee.

The seat opened up in May when Kim Leinbach stepped down due to “significant family health issues.” The day his resignation for the largely ceremonial position went into effect he began working as Plant City’s interim city manager, which he said would bring in more money to offset medical expenses.

If one of the three candidates vying to replace him snags more than 50 percent of the vote in the election, they will win the job outright. If none cross that threshold, a runoff between the first and second place finishers is scheduled for Dec. 19.

Temple Terrace Republicans and other northeastern Hillsborough GOP voters will also decide between two Republicans running to replace former Rep. Dan Raulerson, who represented HD 58 from the 2012 election until he stepped down due to health reasons in August.

Yvonne Fry, a businesswoman and Plant City native, is running against Lawrence McClure, who works as an environmental mitigation consultant.

Fry was the first candidate to file and has earned endorsements from a long list of Hillsborough Republicans, including Raulerson, HD 59 Rep. Ross Spano, Hillsborough County Commissioner and former county GOP chair Al Higginbotham, and all five current Plant City Commissioners.

McClure’s has his own list of big-name backers, though, including the National Rifle Association. Last month, lawmakers including future Senate President Wilton Simpson, Rep. Danny Burgess and Rep. Shawn Harrison held a joint fundraiser with McClure.

Through Sept. 7, McClure had raised about $107,000 for his campaign, compared to about $69,000 for Fry.

The winner of the special primary will move on to face Democrat Jose Vasquez, Libertarian Bryan Zemina and no-party candidate Ahmad Hussam Saadaldin in the special general election, also set for Dec. 19.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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