TAMPA — Republican Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham had another strong quarter of fund raising in the District 7 countywide commission race, pulling $96,000 ahead of his probable Democratic opponent, Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern.
Higginbotham raised nearly $46,000 in the third quarter, compared to Mulhern’s $6,015. The two-term commissioner from Plant City now has a war chest of $134,441 with roughly nine months to go until the Republican Primary.
Higginbotham drew contributions from a wide variety of businesses and individuals, with the largest concentration, $11,800, from development, construction and real estate businesses.
Two other Republicans who filed to run for the countywide seat, Don Kruse and Robin Lester, posted no contributions for the quarter.
Mulhern has raised a total of $38,365 since the third quarter of 2012. She became the only Democratic candidate for District 7 after school board Chairwoman April Griffin dropped out.
“I didn’t spend a lot of time on fundraising,” Mulhern said. “That’s why my total wasn’t up to what it was the previous two quarters. I need to step it up in future.”
Meantime, commission Chairman Ken Hagan, who so far is unopposed in his re-election bid for countywide District 5, continued his aggressive fundraising. Hagan raised $40,150 in the quarter, bringing his total contributions to $214,560, more than any commission candidate.
In the race for District 4, which covers all of east and part of south Hillsborough, school board member Stacy White has a slight lead in contributions over former Tampa Police detective Rich Cochran — $28,631 to $24,655. Cochran, who has been endorsed by Republican state Rep. Dana Young, raised $14,790 in the most recent reporting period, compared to $7,200 by White.
More than half Cochran’s contributions came either from different state chapters of the Police Benevolent Association, a union for police, or from individual police officers. Cochran is a 24-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department and senior vice president of the Tampa PBA.
White, a pharmacist, got $2,600, from pharmacologic, medical and health insurance businesses. He has been endorsed by Sheriff David Gee and State Attorney Mark Ober.
A third Republican in the race, Janet Dougherty, gave $5,000 to her campaign, but listed no other contributions. Dougherty formerly served on the board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and now sits on the county’s Environmental Advisory Committee.
The only Democrat in the race, small businesswoman Donna Lee Fore, has raised $1,064 since filing.