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Hillsborough County, FL – 2020 General Election

Below is the information I found on the various candidates and constitutional amendments for the 2020 general election in Hillsborough County, Florida for my district. You can find your own sample ballot here. I’m politically an independent but registered as a Democrat so I can vote in Florida’s primaries. I generally try not to endorse candidates in my election guides.

(NOTE 09-29-2020: I have entered information for every candidate and amendment. If I find new information, I will update this page. Feel free to comment if you think I missed something important.)

President/Vice-President

I’m fairly confident you’re not on my website looking for information about the candidates for President/Vice-President. Even so, I went ahead and put together the standard links I do for candidates.

Donald J. Trump & Michael R. Pence

Party: Republican
Background Information: Trump was in business and real estate. Pence was governor of Indiana.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website,

Joseph R. Biden & Kamala D. Harris

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Biden and Harris have been US Senators. Harris was also the attorney general of California.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website,
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times

Jo Jorgensen & Jeremy “Spike” Cohen

Party: Libertarian
Background Information: Jo Jorgensen worked in the tech industry before becoming a professor at Clemson University, where she now teaches. Cohen is a former web-designer turned podcast and libertarian activist.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – Jorgensen, Wikipedia – Cohen,

Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente & Darcy G. Richardson

Party: Reform Party (in Florida), Alliance Party (in other states)
Background Information: de la Fuente is in business, inheriting his father’s businesses. He’s wealthy and has engaged in some sketchy business practices. Richardson is an author and blogger focusing on third party candidates.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – de la Fuente, Wikipedia – Richardson,

Gloria La Riva & Sunil Freeman

Party: Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the Peace and Freedom Party
Background Information: La Riva is an activist. Freeman is an author and activist.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – La Riva,

Howie Hawkins & Angela Nicole Walker

Party: Green Party
Background Information: Hawkins is an activist and politician. Walker was a professional driver before becoming a union representative.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – Hawkins, Wikipedia – Walker,
Endorsements:

Don Blankenship & William Mohr

Party: Constitution Party
Background Information: Blankenship was a coal company CEO and is a convicted criminal. Mohr is self-employed in building and construction.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – Blankenship, Wikipedia – Mohr,
Endorsements:

Florida and Local Elections

The Tampa Bay Times now has their election guide up. It’s pretty similar to what I put together but with all the local candidates (I only covered the ones on my ballot). Also, the Tampa Bay Times doesn’t include links to candidates’ websites or information on candidates for the Water District. So, I guess my information is still helpful for those who want to learn about the candidates directly from the candidates.

Representative in Congress District 14

Christine Y. Quinn

Party: Republican
Background Information: Originally from California. Graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Child Development. Small business owner selling spices.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Facebook
Endorsements:

Kathy Castor

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Incumbent candidate. Daughter of a well-known Florida politician, Betty Castor. Graduated from Emory for undergrad and Florida State for law school. Was elected to Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners in 2002. Practiced law until being elected to the US House in 2006.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times

State Attorney, 13th Judicial Circuit

Mike Perotti

Party: Republican
Background Information: He’s a Tampa native and a graduate of Jesuit High School in Tampa. Earned a BA from the University of Florida and his JD from University of Florida College of Law. Per his LinkedIn page, he is currently a staff attorney at the Hillsborough County’s Sheriff’s Office. He previously was a prosecuting attorney in Hillsborough County and ran his own law firm.
Finances (per Florida Department of State Division of Elections): $123,207.25 (as of 2020-09-26)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook, LinkedIn,
Endorsements:

Andrew Warren

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Incumbent candidate. Florida native. Earned BAs in Economics and Political Science at Brandeis University and his JD from Columbia Law School. Currently the State Attorney for the 13th district (since 2016). Married with two kids.
Finances (per Florida Department of State Division of Elections): $182,867.85 (as of 2020-09-26)
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, LinkedIn
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times,

State Representative District 62

Angel S. Urbina Capo

Party: Republican
Background Information: Doesn’t provide any background information about himself on his website. I found this Tampa Bay Times article that provides some information: he is a cyber-security consultant with limited knowledge of politics and the issues facing Tampa Bay. (I still don’t know where he is from or if he went to college). Speaks Spanish and English. Advocate for “freedom of religion” which he interprets to mean that no one can force him to act against his religious principles (translation: he should be allowed to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals). Big fan of Donald Trump.
Finances (per Florida Department of State Division of Elections): $4,805.00 (as of 2020-09-26); Voterfocus indicates he has received more money.
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Facebook
Endorsements:

Susan L. Valdés

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Incumbent. Born in NY but moved to Florida at 8. Graduate of Leto High School. BASc in Business Administration and Management from Nova Southeastern University and an MA in Organizational Leadership from Manhattan College (notes an Honorary Doctorate from Everest University – former for-profit university that doesn’t have any meaningful credentials to grant such an honor). Was a member of the Hillsborough County School Board for 14 years (2004-2018). Elected to Florida House in 2018. Worked for St. Joseph’s Community Care Clinic before that.
Finances (per Florida Department of State Division of Elections): $58,950.00 (as of 2020-09-26); See Voterfocus as well.
Websites: Florida House page, campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia, LinkedIn
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times

Laurie Rodriguez-Person

Party: Independent? (ran against Susan Valdes in the Democratic Primary)
Background Information: Went to Leto High School; studied at USF (no indication of a degree). Teaches “exceptional education” at various schools in Tampa. Not a lot of information available. Found one Twitter post suggesting she is running to oppose Susan Valdes.
Finances (per Florida Department of State Division of Elections): $3,500.00 (as of 2020-09-26).
Websites: Facebook
Endorsements:

Sheriff

Chad Chronister

Party: Republican
Background Information: Incumbent. BA in Criminal Justice and MA in Criminology from St. Leo University. Initially appointed by Rick Scott in 2017; elected in 2018. Served with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years. Mentions his religion prominently on his website.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook,
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times (though they also posted a story suggesting his office may be targeting gay men for prosecution)

Gary Pruitt

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Retired Tampa police Corporal; worked for 25 years for the Tampa Police department. Not a lot of personal information available on him (nothing on his website). This site suggests he’s not the best partner/father.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook, LinkedIn
Endorsements:

Ron McMullen

Party: no party affiliation
Background Information: Tampa native. Graduated from Brandon High School. BA in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University and a MA in Criminology from Florida State. Retired Tampa police major; served for 29 years; last two years was in charge of Special Operations. Wanted to run as a Democrat but didn’t change his party affiliation from Republican by the legal deadline (deadline was June 8, 2019; he switched it in January 2020); see this Tampa Bay Times article.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook
Endorsements:

Property Appraiser

D.C. Goutoufas

Party: Republican
Background Information: Tampa native. Graduated from University of Tampa with a degree in Business Administration. Worked in bank management then became a serial entrepreneur. Has also adjuncted at USF. He has served on a number of local boards. He lost his hearing at 4 and eventually got a cochlear implant.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook, Twitter
Endorsements:

Bob “Coach” Henriquez

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Incumbent. Tampa native. Graduated from Tampa Catholic High School and Princeton University. Served in the Florida House of Representatives (1998-2006). Was the head coach of Tampa Catholic’s football team (thus the “coach” in his name)
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook, Wikipedia
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times,

Tax Collector

TK Mathew

Party: Republican
Background Information: Identifies himself as a conservative businessman. Worked for Doug Belden as a tax collector for a few years. Doesn’t know how to spell “Hillsborough” (major typo on the home page of his website – “Hillsbrorough”). The Tampa Bay Times calls him a “mystery candidate.” Given how little is known about him, that sounds about right.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook,
Endorsements:

Nancy C. Millan

Party: Democrat
Background: Has worked for the tax collector’s office for decades (31 years), rising through the ranks; served on a number of boards, including the Board of Trinity School for Children from 2005-2008 (full disclosure – my son attended Trinity School for Children from about 2012 until 2020);
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: I received a flyer for Nancy Millan that was riddled with typos. That lack of detail bothers me. Millan is also purchasing ads on Google’s search engine. The Tax Collector’s website, hillstax.org, does use Cloudfare to protect against DDOS attacks, though the settings for the protection wouldn’t let me access the website, so someone set it up wrong.
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times,

Board of County Commissioners District 3

Maura Cruz Lanz

Party: Republican
Background Information: Tampa native. Graduated from Jefferson High School. Attended a beauty school and became a licensed cosmetologist. Lives in Wellswood (full disclosure: that’s where I live!). Her husband works in construction and she was the vice president of his company.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook, LinkedIn
Endorsements:

Gwen Myers

Party: Democrat
Background: Tampa native; graduate of FAMU; worked for Hillsborough County for 25 years; now retired; served on a variety of local boards (e.g., Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Council)
Endorsements: County Commissioner Pat Kemp among others, Tampa Bay Times
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: Likes the color green. Platform seems to be focused on public transit.

Board of County Commissioners District 6

Tampa Bay Times story on some of the policy differences between Murman and Kemp.

Sandra L. Murman

Party: Republican
Background Information: Current County Commissioner but term-limited for her seat so running for a county-wide seat. First elected in 2010. Served in the Florida House of Representatives for 8 years. Graduate of Indiana University (Marketing degree). Married to an attorney and have a daughter. Murman has a sizable fundraising lead over Kemp. (Her campaign website looks like it was designed in 2010.)
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Facebook
Endorsements:

Patricia “Pat” Kemp

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Incumbent. First elected in 2016. Was an aide to Kathy Castor when she was on the county commission. She is both an attorney and a journalist. Worked in private practice as an attorney and as a radio talk show host at WUSF and WMNF.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Facebook
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times

Judges

In case you are wondering, if the majority of voters in Florida vote against retention, a judge will actually be removed from office (see here). Of course, the Governor will then be able to appoint a new judge to replace the judge who vacated the office. So, in making your decisions to vote for or against a judge, you should really weigh whether you think the existing judge is better than a judge who might be selected to replace them.

Justice of the Supreme Court

Shall Justice Carlos G. Muñiz of the Supreme Court be retained in office?

Party: non-partisan (appointed by Ron DeSantis)
Background Information: Appointed in 2019 by Ron DeSantis. Originally from Virginia. Attended Catholic schools as a youth. Graduated from University of Virginia for his undergraduate degree and Yale Law School. Prior to his appointment by DeSantis in 2019 he worked as the general counsel for the US Department of Education under Betsy DeVos. Before that, he worked as deputy attorney general in the state of Florida under Pam Bondi. Also worked as general counsel for Jeb Bush. He is a member of the conservative Federalist Society. You can see an interview with him here.
Websites: FL Supreme Court website, Wikipedia,
Endorsements: 71% of the Florida Bar voted to retain him

District Court of Appeal

Shall Judge Drew Atkinson of the Second District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Party: non-partisan (appointed by Rick Scott)
Background Information: Appointed in 2018 by Rick Scott. Native of Tampa. BA from Florida State and law degree from Nova Southeastern. Veteran of the US Army. Worked in the Attorney General’s office, General Counsel for the state, and for a private law firm.
Websites: FL Second District Court of Appeal
Endorsements: 76% of the Florida Bar voted to retain him

Shall Judge Morris Silberman of the Second District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Party: non-partisan (appointed by Jeb Bush)
Background Information: Appointed in 2001. Undergraduate degree from Tulane. Law degree from the University of Florida in 1982. Clerked with the Second District Court of Appeal then went into private practice in Sarasota and Clearwater.
Websites: FL Second District Court of Appeal
Endorsements: 90% of the Florida Bar voted to retain him

Shall Judge Daniel H. Sleet of the Second District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Party: non-partisan (appointed by Jeb Bush)
Background Information: Appointed in 2005. Undergraduate degree from Furman University. Played college football. Law degree from Cumberland School of Law in 1987. Worked as an assistant state attorney then joined a private law firm. Has adjuncted at Stetson University and University of Tampa (full disclosure – that is where I teach).
Websites: FL Second District Court of Appeal
Endorsements: 85% of the Florida Bar voted to retain him

Shall Judge Andrea Teves Smith of the Second District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Party: non-partisan (appointed by Rick Scott)
Background Information: Appointed in 2019. From Bradenton Florida. Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Florida and her law degree from Stetson University in 1991. Worked for a private law firm in Lakeland. Was also a judge on the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court before being appointed to the Second District Court of Appeal.
Websites: FL Second District Court of Appeal
Endorsements: 82% of the Florida Bar voted to retain her

County Court Judge Group 7

The Tampa Bay Times endorsed Bill Yanger.

Monique Scott

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Criminology and Psychology from USF; former Tampa police officer (left for health reasons) and public school teacher; worked as an assistant state attorney; accident attorney; volunteers with epilepsy groups; married to a chiropractor
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Franchi Law firm

Bill Yanger

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Admitted to Florida Bar in 1989; admitted to Texas bar in 1986; graduate of Jesuit High School; went to University of Florida for undergrad; South Texas College of Law for law degree; founder of Yanger Law Group; works on complex business litigation; former Chair of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce; Board of Fellows member at the University of Tampa (full disclosure, I am a professor at the University of Tampa); Presbyterian – goes to Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church
Endorsements: local firefighters unions, Tampa City Council members Guido Maniscalco, Charlie Miranda, and Luis Viera; Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: He drives a truck, per his flyer he circulated (seems important to him).
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Instagram

School Board Member District 1

In the primary election, no candidate received sufficient votes to win the election outright. The two candidates below are the top vote getters and are competing in this runoff election.

Nadia Combs

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Social Studies Education and MA in Educational Leadership from USF; taught in Japan; taught in Hillsborough County Schools for 10 years; founded a company in 2005 as part of the Supplemental Education Services – provides free tutoring to students in Hillsborough County; opened Brighton Learning tutoring center in 2014
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Brighton Learning
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times

Steve Cona

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; Bachelor’s from USF; CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter; on the Board of Trustees of Hillsborough Community College; platform is to improve Florida’s skilled labor force; incumbent
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Platform is three-fold: fiscal accountability, school security, and addressing maintenance problems in schools. Raised almost 10 times as much money as all the other candidates combined. Pretty telling that the Tampa Bay Times didn’t endorse him as the incumbent.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website,

School Board Member District 5

This race isn’t on my ballot but someone asked if I’d look up information on the race. “As you wish…”

Tammy Shamburger

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Incumbent. Tampa native. Graduated from Bloomingdale Senior High School. Has a Liberal Arts degree from HCC, BA in Political Science from USF, and an MBA from St. Leo University. Worked in the insurance industry before being elected to the school board. Elected to the board for District 5 in 2016.
Personal Commentary: No personal experience as an educator.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook, Twitter
Endorsements:

Henry “Shake” Washington

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Graduated from Middleton Senior High School. Played sports in high school. Served in the military for 22 years. Received his BA from the University of Southwest Louisiana. Worked his way through the Hillsborough County Public Schools. Started as an assistant teacher, taught physical education and driver’s ed. Was also a coach. Eventually became a principal and then an area superintendent. He is now retired. Member of Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Personal Commentary: Clearly has a lot of experience in Hillsborough County Public Schools.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook, Twitter
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times

School Board Member District 7

In the primary election, no candidate received sufficient votes to win the election outright. The two candidates below are the top vote getters and are competing in this runoff election.

Lynn Gray

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: worked for over 20 years as a teacher in Tampa; incumbent on the school board; platform – healthier kids (healthier foods and recess); more support for students; improved literacy
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times

Sally A. Harris

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: South Tampa native; owner of Circle C Ranch Academy – early care and education company; focus is on safety, discipline, and management
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: She seems to care more about policing the kids than educating them.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website

Soil and Water Conservation District Group 2

Erik S. Challenger

Party: non-partisan race (but he’s a Democrat)
Background Information: Lives in Apollo Beach. Has raised no money. Not sure how serious a candidate he is. I couldn’t find any useful information about him.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: Facebook
Endorsements:

Michael Harvey

Party: non-partisan race (but he’s a Democrat)
Background Information: Born into a military family. Graduated from something (per his website). Photo suggests he likes to fly. Married with five kids and a dog. Indicates he is a successful businessman on his website. He details his platform in this youtube video.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website,
Endorsements:

Karen Cox Jaroch

Party: non-partisan race (but she’s a Republican)
Background Information: Went to Plant High School. Studied engineering at USF. Worked for Northrup Grumman (1991-2002). Works for Heritage Action for America. Per her Facebook page, “God, Family, Country, Conservative & Blessed!”
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook, LinkedIn
Endorsements:

Douglas “Doug” Rivero

Party: non-partisan race (but he’s a Democrat)
Background Information: College professor. Immigrant from Cuba during the Mariel boatlift. Graduated from Florida International University with a BA in Environmental Science. Worked for AmeriCorps in Florida State Parks. His MA and PhD were in Political Science. Works at Saint Petersburg College. He gardens and is a birder. Can see an interview with him on Facebook. (Seems qualified to me.)
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Facebook
Endorsements:

Soil and Water Conservation District Group 4

Sonja P. Brookins

Party: non-partisan race (but she’s a Democrat)
Background Information: Tampa native. Graduate of Chamberlain HighSchool. Graduated from Texas Chiropractic College. Has a certificate in Nursing from Austin Peay State University and a Master of Education in Counseling from Prairie View A&M. Worked as an Executive Director for Emergency Shelters for domestic violence victims. Also taught school.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: campaign website, Facebook
Endorsements:

D.B. “Brig” Maynard

Party: non-partisan race
Background Information: From West Virginia. Studied at USF. Formerly held a seat on the Soil and Water Conservation Board. No campaign website. His name is David Maynard but he goes by “Brig.”
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: Facebook,
Endorsements:

Mark Proctor

Party: non-partisan race (but he’s Republican)
Background Information: He’s the current chairman of the Soil & Water Conservation District. He is in real estate as an investor, agent, and broker. Posted on his twitter page that he voted for Trump on September 23rd. The website linked to from his Twitter profile redirects to a Chinese gambling website. Either he’s been hacked or he makes his money off Chinese gambling websites.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: Twitter, LinkedIn
Endorsements:

Constitutional Amendments

The Tampa Bay Times has an article explaining all of the constitutional amendments on the 2020 ballot.

No. 1 Constitutional Amendment

Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections

This amendment provides that only United States Citizens who are at least eighteen years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall be qualified to vote in a Florida election.

Because the proposed amendment is not expected to result in any changes to the voter registration process in Florida, it will have no impact on state or local government costs or revenue. Further, it will have no effect on the state’s economy.

My Translation: This is a very minor change to the Florida constitution that already says that “every citizen” can vote. So, the change would be from “every citizen” to “only a citizen.” This is basically an anti-immigrant amendment that is trying to circumvent a problem that doesn’t exist in Florida of some cities/counties allowing non-citizen immigrants/residents to vote in elections. This seems completely superfluous given that it doesn’t actually change anything but rather is a symbolic change to indicate that Florida is anti-immigrant. It’s also a voter intimidation amendment trying to reduce voter turnout.
Background Information: John Loudon, Republican, is the chairman of the sponsoring organization.
Websites: amendment website
Tampa Bay Times opposes this amendment.

No. 2 Constitutional Amendment

Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage

Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.

State and local government costs will increase to comply with the new minimum wage levels. Additional annual wage costs will be approximately $16 million in 2022, increasing to about $540 million in 2027 and thereafter. Government actions to mitigate these costs are unlikely to produce material savings. Other government costs and revenue impacts, both positive and negative, are not quantifiable.

This proposed constitutional amendment is estimated to have a net negative impact on the state budget. This impact may result in higher taxes or a loss of government services in order to maintain a balanced state budget as required by the constitution.

My Translation: This amendment would increase Florida’s minimum wage over time. I am fascinated by the estimates that are included with this amendment. They seem like a straightforward effort to try to dissuade voters from approving this.
Background Information: Florida’s minimum wage does increase slightly with inflation at present. However, as of 01/01/2020, minimum wage in Florida is $8.56. John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan is the chairman of the sponsoring organization.
Websites: sponsor’s website
Tampa Bay Times opposes this amendment.

No. 3 Constitutional Amendment

All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet

Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held and winner is determined in general election. Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law. Effective January 1, 2024.

It is probably that the proposed amendment will result in additional local government costs to conduct elections in Florida. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference projects that the combined costs across counties will range from $5.2 million to $5.8 million for each of the first three election cycles occurring in even-numbered years after the amendment’s effective date, with the costs for each of the intervening years dropping to less than $450,000. With respect to state costs for oversight, the additional costs for administering elections are expected to be minimal. Further, there are no revenues linked to voting in Florida. Since there is no impact on state costs or revenues, there will be no impact on the state’s budget. While the proposed amendment will result in an increase in local expenditures, this change is expected to be below the threshold that would produce a statewide economic impact.

My Translation: This amendment would open up certain primary races in Florida so anyone can vote for any candidate. In other words, an independent voter could vote for Democratic or Republican candidates in the primaries. Likewise, a voter registered as a Democratic could vote for Republican candidates and vice versa. In principle, this seems like a good idea. The one possible drawback is that it is also coupled with a change that the top two vote-getters in a primary would then run in the general election. So, if two Republicans got the most votes in the primary, they would run against each other in the general election. In hyper-partisan districts, this could guarantee single-party dominance. Of course, it could also end up splitting the vote in one party, allowing the candidate in another party to win.
Background Information: Currently, in Florida, voters can only vote for candidates from their party in primaries.
Websites: amendment website
Tampa Bay Times opposes this amendment.

No. 4 Constitutional Amendment

Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments

Requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal applies the current thresholds for passage to each of the two elections.

It is probably that the proposed amendment will result in additional state and local government costs to conduct elections in Florida. Overall, these costs will vary from election cycle to election cycle depending on the unique circumstances of each ballot and cannot be estimated at this time. The key factors determining cost include the number of amendments appearing for the second time on each ballot and the length of those amendments. Since the maximum state cost is likely less than $1 million per cycle but the impact cannot be discretely quantified, the change to the state’s budget is unknown. Similarly, the economic impact cannot be modelled, although the spending increase is expected to be below the threshold that would produce a statewide economic impact. Because there are no revenues linked to voting in Florida, there will be no impact on government taxes or fees.

The financial impact of this amendment cannot be determined due to ambiguities and uncertainties surrounding the amendment’s impact.

My Translation: Per this article in the Tampa Bay Times, it’s not clear who funded this amendment, but it appears to be right-leaning corporations that are frustrated with the ability of Floridians to occasionally govern themselves. Powerful entities from political parties to corporations in Florida are frustrated when the citizens actually enact legislation that a super-majority wants. This is another attempt by shadowy figures to attempt to reduce the ability of the people to govern themselves by making it harder to pass a constitutional amendment. I’ll go ahead and make my position on this clear – vote NO on Amendment 4.
Background Information: Currently, in order for an amendment to be added to the Florida constitution it requires just one election and a supermajority of voters to approve it of 60%.
Websites: sponsor’s website
The Tampa Bay Times opposes this amendment.

No. 5 Constitutional Amendment

Limitations on Homestead Property Tax Assessments; increased portability period to transfer accrued benefit

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2021, to increase, from 2 years to 3 years, the period of time during which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.

My Translation: This is somewhat technical but basically gives people who sell their home that has the homestead exemption in Florida an extra year to buy another home so they can save some money through the homestead exemption.
Background Information: See the Tampa Bay Times’s analysis of this amendment. And you can learn about homestead exemptions here and here.
Websites: This actually got added to the ballot via a joint resolution of the Legislature where it passed with very little opposition.
Tampa Bay Times supports this amendment.

No. 6 Constitutional Amendment

Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities

Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions. The amendment takes effect January 1, 2021.

My Translation: This amendment would extend a tax exemption from veterans over 65 to their spouses when the veteran dies.
Background Information: There are a number of special exemptions to taxes that get carved out for different groups in Florida.
Websites: This also got added to the ballot via the Florida Legislature where it passed with no opposition.
Tampa Bay Times supports this amendment.

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Hillsborough County, FL – Fall 2020 Primay

In researching candidates for elections, I have taken to posting links to the information I find on my website to help others. Note, I’m a registered Democrat only so I can vote in the Democrat primaries. I would prefer to be considered an Independent voter as I vote by the candidate, not by party. Here’s what I’ve found…

Update 07-27-2020: The Tampa Bay Times has put together a nice voter information guide that is pretty comprehensive. It doesn’t include links to candidates’ websites, but provides a fair amount of information. I’ve been wishing for something like this for a long time. I highly recommend it.

Update 08-20-2020: I have crossed out those who lost in the primary. I will start a new page for the general election.

Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller

Tampa Bay Times article on the race. Tampa Bay Times on Stuart entering the race.

Kevin Beckner

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Hillsborough County Commissioner from 2008 to 2016; Executive Director of the Hillsborough County Civil Service Board (hears appeals of employee discipline and termination); CSB was abolished in 2019; BA in Criminal Justice from Indiana University; Indiana Law Enforcement Academy degree in 1990; (hypes his credentials by referencing a Harvard Leadership program that isn’t anything meaningful); financial planner by profession
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Twitter,
Endorsements: lots of labor unions,

Cindy Stuart

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Hillsborough County School Board member from District 3; has a degree in business from Florida International University; worked in insurance before running for the school board
Endorsements: outgoing clerk, Pat Frank (possibly because Beckner ran against her in an earlier campaign)
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Twitter, Facebook,

Tax Collector

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Nancy C. Millan. Tampa Bay Times article on April Griffin entering the race.

April Griffin

Party: Democrat
Background: Served on the Hillsborough County School Board for 3 terms; was chair of Hillsborough County School Board twice; BA in Organizational Studies from Eckerd College; Hillsborough County native; owns a software development company
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Nancy C. Millan

Party: Democrat
Background: Has worked for the tax collector’s office for decades (31 years), rising through the ranks; served on a number of boards, including the Board of Trinity School for Children from 2005-2008 (full disclosure – my son attended Trinity School for Children from about 2012 until 2020);
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: I received a flyer for Nancy Millan that was riddled with typos. That lack of detail bothers me. Millan is also purchasing ads on Google’s search engine. The Tax Collector’s website, hillstax.org, does use Cloudfare to protect against DDOS attacks, though the settings for the protection wouldn’t let me access the website, so someone set it up wrong.

Board of County Commissioners District 3

Tampa Bay Times story on Rick Fernandez entering the race. Tampa Bay Times endorsed Thomas Scott.

Ricardo “Rick” Fernandez

Party: Democrat
Background: Hillsborough County native (born in District 3); Navy veteran; Lawyer and former Tampa Heights Civic Association president; currently a career coach and recruiter for law firms;
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: Twitter, LinkedIn

Gwen Myers

Party: Democrat
Background: Tampa native; graduate of FAMU; worked for Hillsborough County for 25 years; now retired; served on a variety of local boards (e.g., Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Council;
Endorsements: County Commissioner Pat Kemp among others
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: Likes the color green. Platform seems to be focused on public transit.

Frank Reddick

Party: Democrat
Background: Hillsborough County native; graduated from Paine College in Augusta, GA; served on Tampa City Council for 8 years; President and CEO of Sickle Cell Association, served on lots of local boards
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website

Thomas Scott

Party: Democrat
Background: native of Macon, Georgia; graduate of UNF – degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology; has an MA in Biblical Studies from the Assembly of God Theological Seminary; Army veteran; moved to Tampa in 1980 to be a pastor (22nd Street Church of God); served as Hillsborough County Commissioner from 1996 to 2006; served on Tampa City Council from 2007 to 2011; was appointed by Rick Scott to the State of Florida Elections Commission in 2015
Endorsements: Chad Chronister – Hillsborough County Sheriff; Les Miller – Hillsborough County Commissioner District 3 (who he would be replacing); Tampa Bay Times
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: He sent a flyer in the mail.

Sky U. White

Party: Democrat
Background: Hillsborough County native; nurse; community organizer; owns REVIVED magazine; served on a lot of boards
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: Youngest candidate (per her website); most progressive candidate as well; probably the only candidate who would bring fresh ideas to the Hillsborough County Commission.

Before considering candidates for the various court benches, you should check out the Judicial Candidate Forum video and information hosted by the North Tampa Bar Association.

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 9

Tampa Bay Times endorsed John Schifino.

Kelly Ayers

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BS in Journalism and Communication from University of Florida; law degree from Stetson; practicing law for 26 years; owns three law firms; visiting professor at USF; editor of Stetson Law Journal
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: She misspelled Communication (she put an “s” on the end) – personal pet peeve;
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website,

John Schifino

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: father was a lawyer; lived in Tampa for a long time; on a number of boards;
Endorsements: Firefighter unions; Janet Cruz; Bob Buckhorn; Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: Not much about his views on his website; sent a flyer
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, LinkedIn

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 19

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Michael J. Scionti.

Ashley Ivanov

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: from Charleston, SC; graduated from The George Washington University; probate and estate planning attorney; admitted to bar in Florida in 2015; founded her own firm in 2018; limited experience; clerked for the federal government; volunteers with her church in Brandon
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary:
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website

Michael J. Scionti

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; served as a state representative, army officer, US diplomat; originally elected in 2014;
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: He has a Wikipedia page!
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Wikipedia

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 30

Tampa Bay Times recommends Helene Daniel.

Danny Alvarez

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Journalism from University of Florida; family is from Cuba; played sports in college and was in the ROTC; admitted to Florida Bar in 2008; Army infantry officer; worked for Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office since 2017 as a special projects manager and communications chief; motivational speaker
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: I have never trusted anyone who calls themselves a “motivational speaker”. “His family escaped communist Cuba” – phrasing from his website strongly suggests very conservative views.
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Instagram

Helene Daniel

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: born in France; admitted to Florida Bar in 1986; experience with family law, juvenile law, and insurance; AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times, La Gaceta
Personal Commentary: Loves her dogs
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 31

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Greg Green.

Scott Bonavita

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: born in Glen Falls, NY; moved to Tampa at 9; Gaither High School graduate; played soccer; attended the University of Tampa to play soccer (full disclosure, I’m a professor at UT) then left to pursue a career with the Rowdies – only played one game for the Rowdies; BA in Psychology from USF; JD from St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami; former prosecutor; owned his own firm since 2012; handles business law; certified court mediator; emphasizes he is a single father; is also a personal trainer and teaches CrossFit
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: really proud of his son
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Instagram, Law Firm

Gary Dolgin

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Florida native; lived in Tampa since he was 2; attended Emory University; law degree from University of Florida; admitted to Florida Bar in 1990; was an assistant state attorney and public defender; owned his own firm focusing on family law since 1993; board-certified in his field; author of a book on family law; volunteers regularly; member of Congregation Schaarai Zedek
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Seems like the most humble candidate.
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website,

Greg Green

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; played basketball and football at Chamberlain High; got his law degree in 1999; worked as an assistant state attorney; his current law practice focuses on divorce and child custody cases; volunteer flag football coach at Robinson High School; biblical counselor at the Crossing Church;
Endorsements: various firefighter unions; Tampa Bay Times
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 39

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Steven Scott Stephens.

Wendy Joy DePaul

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: graduated from FSU and Stetson University College of Law; admitted to the Florida Bar in 1997; has a CPA; managing partner of a law firm; practice is a mix of family law, bankruptcy, and foreclosure; provides free legal assistance to the poor; active with her congregation
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: loves dogs
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website,

Steven Scott Stephens

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: incumbent – has been a judge for 15 years; was appointed in 2005 by Jeb Bush; has a PhD in business as well as advanced degrees in computer science and engineering; former faculty member at USF, UT, and Stetson University; published author on trial court and family law
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: Who gives their kid the same first name as their last name?; He has ads on Google; Definitely playing up the fact that he is the incumbent.
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website;

County Court Judge Group 7

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Bill Yanger.

Nancy L. Jacobs

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: from Miami; University of Florida for undergraduate degree; JD from University of Miami; former Hillsborough prosecutor; owned her own firm since 1993 handing family law, criminal defense, and estates; provides free legal services on behalf of veterans, animal welfare groups, and youth organizations
Endorsements: a number of judges and attorneys
Personal Commentary: rescues dogs
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook

Monique Scott

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Criminology and Psychology from USF; former Tampa police officer (left for health reasons) and public school teacher; worked as an assistant state attorney; accident attorney; volunteers with epilepsy groups; married to a chiropractor
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Franchi Law firm

Rickey “Rick” Silverman

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: from New York; grew up in a blue-collar family; first practiced in Miami then moved to Tampa (in 1995); wife has a PhD in Microbiology; top-rated traffic attorney;
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website,

Bill Yanger

Background: Admitted to Florida Bar in 1989; admitted to Texas bar in 1986; graduate of Jesuit High School; went to University of Florida for undergrad; South Texas College of Law for law degree; founder of Yanger Law Group; works on complex business litigation; former Chair of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce; Board of Fellows member at the University of Tampa (full disclosure, I am a professor at the University of Tampa); Presbyterian – goes to Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church
Endorsements: local firefighters unions, Tampa City Council members Guido Maniscalco, Charlie Miranda, and Luis Viera; Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: He drives a truck, per his flyer he circulated (seems important to him).
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Instagram

School Board Member District 1

The Tampa Bay Times recently announced their endorsements for School Board in Hillsborough County. Good Tampa Bay Times article with information on the candidates in this race.

Nadia Combs

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Social Studies Education and MA in Educational Leadership from USF; taught in Japan; taught in Hillsborough County Schools for 10 years; founded a company in 2005 as part of the Supplemental Education Services – provides free tutoring to students in Hillsborough County; opened Brighton Learning tutoring center in 2014
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Brighton Learning

Steve Cona

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; Bachelor’s from USF; CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter; on the Board of Trustees of Hillsborough Community College; platform is to improve Florida’s skilled labor force; incumbent
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Platform is three-fold: fiscal accountability, school security, and addressing maintenance problems in schools. Raised almost 10 times as much money as all the other candidates combined. Pretty telling that the Tampa Bay Times didn’t endorse him as the incumbent.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website,

Ben “Floridaman” Greene

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: No website. Not a lot of information about him.
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Appears to be running a protest campaign. Was thrown out of a School Board meeting. Here’s a video of him talking to the School Board.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:

Bill Person

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Retired educator in Hillsborough County; Vietnam War veteran
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Not much about him available.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: LinkedIn

School Board Member District 7

Tampa Bay Times article about the candidates in this race.

Lynn Gray

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: worked for over 20 years as a teacher in Tampa; incumbent on the school board; platform – healthier kids (healthier foods and recess); more support for students; improved literacy
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Sally A. Harris

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: South Tampa native; owner of Circle C Ranch Academy – early care and education company; focus is on safety, discipline, and management
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: She seems to care more about policing the kids than educating them.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website

Jeffery Alex James Johnson

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: From Jacksonville, FL; has degrees from Warner University (private Christian university) and St. Thomas Christian University (fake online university with no accreditation) – the degrees are all highly suspect; runs a Girls Summit; works as a Senior Manager of Neighborhood Initiatives for United Way Suncoast
Endorsements: County Commissioner Les Miller; State Representatives Wengay Newton and Dianne Hart
Personal Commentary: If he isn’t knowledgeable enough to know that a doctorate from an online diploma mill with no accreditation isn’t a real degree, he has no business being on the school board. Website is filled with typos. (I try not to endorse candidates on this page, but I oppose this candidate.)
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Angela Schroden

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; lives on Davis Islands; EdD from USF; literacy consultant and adjunct professor at USF in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; volunteers at Hyde Park United Methodist Church and South Tampa Community Bible Study; worked in Hillsborough County Schools for 15 years
Endorsements: local teachers and principals
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

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