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HD 9 candidate Loranne Ausley plans Tampa fundraiser

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, former CFO Alex Sink, and others are throwing a fundraiser in Tampa for fellow Democrat Loranne Ausley, who’s seeking a Tallahassee-area Florida House seat.

Former state Insurance Consumer Advocate Sean Shaw, who worked for Sink, on Thursday tweeted a photo of the invite to the event, to be held next Tuesday at Big Ray’s Fish Camp.

The 52-year-old Ausley, a lawyer, seeks to retake the reliably Democratic district she held in 2000-08 now that current Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda is term-limited.

Other hosts at the Tampa fundraiser include the former state senator, education commissioner and USF President Betty Castor, and Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez.

Ausley faces Democrats Arnitta Grice-Walker, an elementary school teacher, and Joshua Johnson in the primary. The winner there faces Republican lawyer Jim Messer in the general election.

The district includes part of Leon County “where a third of employees work in the public sector,” according to LobbyTools, and is “noticeably whiter, older and more affluent than the majority-minority District 8 to the west.”

Comparing the cash-on-hand amounts, Ausley leads with $172,000, followed by Messer with almost $76,000.

Johnson, a political unknown, has posted no campaign money, and Grice-Walker’s campaign account is $558 in debt, state records show.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at

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