Rep. Ross Spano draws Democratic challenger in HD 59

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State Rep. Ross Spano has drawn a Democratic challenger in his re-election effort for House District 59, one of Florida’s most competitive districts.

Donna Lee Fore, president of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce, was originally running for the District 4 of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. Term-limited Al Higginbotham, who is now running for an at-large seat, currently holds the seat. Spano is the first term GOP representative for the district that covers much of central Hillsborough County.

Although Fore is listed as the only active Democratic candidate for the county board, on May 27, she filed a campaign account for HD 59, where registered Democrats and Republicans are somewhat evenly matched.

Fore is co-owner of P.F. Auto Glass, the business opened with her husband Pat in 1994, and she lays claim to a long list of civic activism, including serving as Treasurer for the Board of Directors of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce since 2009. She also co-founded the Riverview Woman’s Club and acted as past president of the Bloomingdale Ridge Home Owners Association.

“You can count on me to listen, work hard and be a fair voice for the families of my district and Florida, just like I have operated my business and been honored to serve with our Riverview Chamber of Commerce,” Fore said on her website. “I am running for State Representative because Tallahassee is out of touch with Florida’s working families and we must unite community and business.”

One reason for the switch may be that Fore was far behind her Hillsborough county GOP opponents in fundraising: former Hillsborough County Land Use Appeals Board member Rick Cochran has $82,021 to date, former school board member Stacy White with $52,241 and $120,065 for civic activist Janet Dougherty.

Fore raised just under $3,900.

Spano, who only won his race by two percentage points in 2012, raised $91,905 in total for his re-election, and has been running unopposed until now.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.