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Pat Kemp seizes on new poll to spur fundraising efforts

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Hillsborough County Commission Democratic candidate Pat Kemp is seizing on a GOP poll showing her leading Jim Norman in a new fundraising email to supporters.

The poll, by Republican consulting firm Data Targeting of Gainesville, shows Kemp leading Norman, 44-35 percent.

That’s interesting as a snapshot in time of those two candidates — but hardly representative of the entire field that will be on the ballot in their respective primary elections next August 30.

There are three prominent Democrats in the County Commission District 6 race that will be on the ballot — Kemp, attorney and pro-transit advocate Brian Willis, and former County Commissioner and Tampa City Councilman Thomas Scott.

Willis leads all candidates in fundraising with $59,942. Kemp has brought in $45,900, though $26,000 came from herself.

“I think Norman has pledged to raise $100,000 this first month,” noted Willis. “He has committed to rehabilitate and redefine his message in Hillsborough County, and if he has enough money he could be successful in doing that.” He noted that over 20 percent of the electorate was undecided in the poll. “We’ll need a well-funded Democratic campaign to take on the Norman fundraising machine. I am committed to doing that.”

Tim Schock and Tom Aviano are the other Republicans (to date) who are running against Norman.

Data Targeting has been doing surveys for 27 years, but may be best known these days for being the GOP consultant that secretly drew Florida redistricting maps in 2012, maps that were overturned by the Florida Supreme Court earlier this year as being unconstitutional.

The poll included 400 respondents and has a 4.9 percent margin of error.

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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