TAMPA — Of 15 candidates running in three Hillsborough County School Board races, District 2 candidate Michelle Popp Shimberg has far outpaced all the others in campaign contributions so far with more than $55,000.
The political newcomer and mother of three filed in July to run for the South Tampa seat held by longtime board member Candy Olson, who is not seeking re-election.
According to online quarterly campaign finance reports, Shimberg, who served 18 years on the school district’s Citizens Advisory Council, has raised $56,743 in donations in the third quarter, July 1 through Sept. 30.
She has spent $1,825, with $854 going toward printing expenses for campaign materials and $520 for website development and branding.
“I really had no idea what kind of support I was going to get,” said Shimberg, who has been involved with PTA and does volunteer work for several local organizations.
“I reached out to a lot of different people I’ve worked with in the community throughout the years.”
Shimberg’s donations include $250 from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and $500 from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Her husband is Tampa lawyer Robert Shimberg, who served on Bondi’s transition team.
Shimberg, 51, is running against Sally Harris and Michael Weston, who both have run unsuccessful school board campaigns. Weston, a former Freedom High School teacher, has raised $3,612 and spent $814. Harris does not have a finance report on file with the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Office.
In the District 4 race, Melissa Snively has raised the most money, at $38,200, exceeding what she said was her goal of $35,000. She has spent $6,293.
Snively, 43, a State Farm insurance agent and former chairwoman of the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, is up against three others for the seat: Terry Kemple, with $5,990 raised; Jereme Monette, with $2,915 raised; and Dee Prether, with nearly $2,000 raised.
The seat, which represents much of eastern Hillsborough, is being vacated by Stacy White, who is running for county commission.
Another political newcomer, Dipa Shah, 42, leads the District 6 race in fundraising, with $31,306. T
he Brandon lawyer and mother of two has spent $1,835 and is up against seven other candidates.
Most of Shah’s contributions so far have come from friends and family, she said.
Stacy Hahn has raised $10,325 in donations, followed by Russ Patterson with $10,011, Randy Toler with $1,350, Paula Meckley with $1,000, John Evon with $325 and Alison McGillivray Fernandez with $150. Kim Miller brought in $200 before withdrawing from the race.
District 6 board member April Griffin said she has not decided whether she will run for a third term in the countywide seat.
Griffin filed to run for the District 7 county commission seat in February but has dropped out of that race.