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Poll shows Pat Kemp leading in Democratic race for Hillsborough County Commission District 6 race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A survey conducted last week by St. Pete Polls shows Pat Kemp leading in the Democratic primary for the Hillsborough County Commission District 6 countywide contest.

The survey, commissioned by strategist Barry Edwards, shows Kemp leading with 34 percent support.

Former County Commissioner and Tampa City Councilman Tom Scott is second with 24 percent. Former Plant City Mayor John Dicks is next at 6 percent, and attorney Brian Willis is at 4 percent.  Thirty-two percent of those questioned are uncertain about who to support.

Edwards says that he has done two earlier polls on the same race over the past year, and says the results have been fairly consistent. One aberration, he says, is that Willis favorability numbers have dropped in recent months, with 13 percent having a favorable viewpoint on his candidacy now, and 17 percent unfavorable (70 percent are unsure).

“He strung himself to Go Hillsborough, and that was a bad thing to attach himself to,” Edwards says, referring to Willis support for the half-cent transportation tax that county commissioners again decided not to put on the November ballot last week.

Dicks is also upside down in terms of his favorability rankings, with a 13/16 percent favorable/unfavorable ranking (70 percent are unsure about his candidacy).

Kemp has by far the best favorable/unfavorable rankings with 35 percent favorable, 14 percent unfavorable, and 50 percent unsure. Scott is next best, with a 32/22 percent favorable/unfavorable ranking, with 46 percent unsure.

Scott is dominating with black voters in the poll, leading among that demographic with 60 percent support to Kemp’s 23 percent.

Edwards says Kemp has the best name recognition of all the Democrats in the race. “She was just on the ballot in 2014, where she lost by half-a-point to Al Higginbotham. So she got a huge amount of name ID built up,” he says.

And he says the fact that Scott has been on the ballot so many times over the past two decades helps his name recognition tremendously. “He’s been on the ballot six times,” Edwards says.

The poll of 502 Democrats was conducted on June 7 and has a 4.4 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level. Only those who voted in the Democratic primary election in 2012 and 2014 were included in the results.

The four candidates are competing in the Aug. 30 primary, with the winner to face the winner of the Jim Norman/Tim Schock Republican primary.




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 [email protected]

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