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Friday, Sep 21, 2018
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William March: Frank Reddick says all-white Tampa council possible

A decline in the percentage of black voters in Tampa's only majority-black City Council district, District 5, has council member Frank Reddick worried.

"If we can't maintain the African-American voter numbers, I could be the last African-American representative," Reddick, the only black council member, said this week.

Gentrification near downtown is part of the reason.

"The shift from the '70s on has been from downtowns having large minority populations to the minorities moving away from the city center," said Terry Eagan of Plan Hillsborough.

BACK STORY: City council district boundaries changing

Since the 2015 council redistricting, black voters have dropped from 61.3 percent to 53.8 percent of the district, said Eagan, who's working on the 2019 remapping.

The closing of North Boulevard Homes for West Tampa urban renewal and Presbyterian Village for Interstate 275 expansion uprooted some 2,000 district residents, many black.

Some older residents moved to the Encore project, remaining in District 5, but many moved to the University area, the Brandon area or south Hillsborough, Eagan said.

Eagan's group has come up with four alternative maps that increase the percentage of black voters in District 5 to as much as 56.1 percent. But gentrification isn't over: Oakhurst Square Apartments will be close next year, Reddick said.

Raulerson backs Fry, warns of Tallahassee influence

Former state Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City, has endorsed Yvonne Fry as his successor and warned in a newspaper ad against the influence of Tallahassee special interests and legislative leadership in the special election to replace him.

Raulerson clashed with his own party's House leadership before his resignation last month.

He said initially that he would remain neutral in the election. In the GOP-leaning district, the Oct. 10 GOP primary could be decisive.

But, he said in an interview, "Once I became a private citizen I felt it was important to get involved. I want the district to select a representative and not the people in Tallahassee."

Raulerson stopped short of accusing legislative leaders of backing Fry's opponent, Lawrence McClure, whose stances on several issues are closer than Fry's to those of House Speaker Richard Corcoran and his leadership team.

Members of that team have denied they are taking sides in the primary.

But in his endorsement, Raulerson called Fry "the only person in this race that will truly represent the interests of District 58," and said she "will stand up to Tallahassee special interests and those in leadership."

In the Plant City Observer ad, he said power in Tallahassee "has become much more centralized" and that voters need to guard against "the influence of wealthy special interests" who "give large contributions to the political action committees of those that will do their bidding."

McClure has said he does not have a political action committee separate from his campaign, and his first campaign finance report covering August didn't show heavy contributions from lobbyists or PACs.

Fry backers say they think he will receive such help before the campaign is over.

Ken Hagan tops $400,000 in commission race

Ken Hagan's unprecedented fundraising in the District 2 county commissioner's race is continuing: He has raised $400,985 in the first five months of his campaign.

So far, Hagan has no well-known opponent. What's he going to do with the cash?

In 2014 Hagan raised $304,805 running unopposed for his current countywide seat. He ended up giving about $25,000 to charity and refunding $228,000 to donors.

But while it was sitting in the bank, the money helped scare off potential opponents.

Rick Kriseman keeps turning to Tampa for funds

Tampa Democrats will hold their third fundraiser for St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's re-election campaign next week, helping see Kriseman through the Nov. 7 runoff election.

Both Kriseman, a Democrat, and his Republican opponent Rick Baker have raised money from members of their respective parties in Tampa. Even though their race is non-partisan, both parties view it as an important partisan test.

Kriseman narrowly led Baker in the Aug. 29 primary, making it into the runoff, with the help of two previous Tampa fundraisers.

A plethora of big-name Democratic donors including Sam Bell and Betty Castor, Harry Cohen, Pat Kemp, Tom Scarritt, Jim Shimberg, Alex Sink and Ed Turanchik will hold another Kriseman funder in Ybor City on Wednesday.

But it's not just Democrats giving to Kriseman. In May, he got $500 from Aakash Patel, now running as a Republican for a Hillsborough County commission seat.

Contact William March at [email protected]

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