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Tim Schock reminds voters of Jim Norman’s ‘baggage’ in new mailer

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Jim Norman said earlier this month that he’s rarely asked by Hillsborough County residents about the ethical issues that dogged him several years ago. But if the public doesn’t remember the incident that tripped him back in 2010, a new mailer issued out by Tim Schock, his GOP District 6 opponent in this month’s primary election, will surely remind them.

Shock’s mailer features a series of suitcases plopped atop another with the headline, “Career Politician Jim Norman, He’s Got A LOT OF BAGGAGE.”

It also cites quotes from local publications, such as a Tampa Tribune, that “he proved himself untrustworthy … arrogance and ethical indifference grew along with his political success.” Another from the then-St. Petersburg Times reads, “Feds seek records in probe of Jim Norman’s conduct as Hillsborough commissioner.”

Norman served on the county commission from 1992-2010. During his campaign for the state Senate in 2010, his campaign was buffeted by reports about a longtime supporter purchasing a vacation home for his wife. Although he won the seat that year over Republican Kevin Ambler, he opted not to run for re-election in 2012 after admitting to ethics violations regarding the Arkansas home.

“I had an opponent who makes an allegation, I went through the process, and I was 100 percent cleared,” Norman told this reporter earlier this month when asked if he hears much about the issue on the campaign trail. “The news media is the only one that hasn’t really caught on to that fact.”

There hasn’t been any public polling on the race, but Schock has defeated Norman in a few key straw polls this campaign season, including a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Hob Nob and a Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee meeting.

Neither Schock nor Norman was available for comment.

Registered Hillsborough County Republicans will decide on the contest on Aug. 30.

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 mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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