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William March reports what we’ve already reported

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

William March is something of a hero among journalists in the Tampa Bay area. He’s been a staple of enterprise reporting for decades. When he was abruptly let go from his longstanding post at the Tampa Tribune, colleagues and competitors alike were astonished, angered and, of course, saddened.

But alas, he has returned as a correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times. Now March is penning columns for the area’s biggest print newspaper following all the insider politics readers loved from the veteran writer at the Tribune.

March kicked off his column last month with speculation that former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker would make a swell candidate for U.S. Senate. It’s that sort of postulation readers would be sure to look forward to from March without fail.

Not so fast.

In his latest column, March reports on a number of political rumors and musings from Hillsborough County Commission seat swaps to a new (not really) Hillsborough Democratic Party chair. Where March is often the first to report, he’s now the bringer of old news.

March kicks off his Thursday column by debunking a seat swap between Hillsborough County Commissioners Victor Crist and Ken Hagan. Both will be termed out of their current seats in 2018. The swap’s not going to happen, March says, because Hagan is going to run for mayor.

SaintPetersblog reporter Mitch Perry reported that in April.

March does offer a little something new. Crist told him to expect an announcement soon that he’s running for Hagan’s seat.

March also reports in his Tampa Bay political update that Mark Danish, the former state representative who ousted Republican Shawn Harrison only to get ousted himself the following election, will be running for Tampa City Council District 7 when Lisa Montelione leaves office.

Again, Perry reported that last month.

Then there’s this: “Meet the new chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party.”

Thanks March, but we met Elizabeth Belcher back in December when she was elected.

So, March may have been a little behind on some snippets of political comings and goings, but he’s still got a nose for what’s happening.

In another part of his column, March speculates the Hillsborough County Republican Party’s relocation from its former office in Brandon may have been caused by a Tea Party takeover.

Deborah Tamargo was elected chair back in January in large part based of backing from prominent Tea Party staples in the party, including Sharon Calvert. The party had been renting space at a discount in a plaza in Brandon owned by one of the party’s major donors, Sam Rashid.

Rashid told March had the last-minute candidate for chair, Deborah Cox-Roushe, been elected instead, he may have let the party stay in his space.

March also reports that former TV consumer advocate Eric Seidel is “showing signs” of mounting a serious campaign for clerk of the Circuit Court. Though, as March accurately points out, he’d face a pretty daunting uphill battle against Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner or the incumbent, Pat Frank.

In any case, March’s latest column is a mixed bag of old news versus new.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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