Today, Tampa House Republican Dana Young endorsed Rick Cochran in his 2014 race to succeed Al Higginbotham in the Hillsborough County Commission. Cochran is one of three Republicans who has entered the contest, joining the highest profile candidate in the race, school board member Stacy White, as well as Janet Dougherty (formerly Janet Kovach).
"I am proud to endorse Rick Cochran in his bid for Hillsborough County Commission, District 4. After beginning his career by serving our nation in the United States Air Force, Rick went on to serve our community for 24 years in his distinguished career with the Tampa Police Department," said Young. "I am excited that Rick is now offering to serve Hillsborough County in a new capacity. As a strong and principled conservative, I am confident that he will approach his work on the County Commission with strength, diligence, fairness and integrity."
Cochran is a TPD detective and the senior vice president of the Tampa Police Benevolent Association. He has raised $9,856, which has been dwarfed by White's $21,431 fundraising totals so far. But Young's endorsement could direct the attention of some GOP heavy hitters to the Wimauma resident with serious law enforcement credentials.
Donna Lee Fore is the lone Democrat to enter the contest in District 4, a GOP stronghold that represents mostly Eastern Hillsborough County. The president of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce, Fore announced her candidacy in late July.
Fore has been with her auto glass company, P. F. Auto Glass, for 20 years, and thinks the federal government forgot about small mom-and-pop shops like hers when they were bailing out General Motors a couple of years ago.
"They didn't think full circle, and the past few years I've noticed that our local government is doing the same," she said.
Fore supports Bass Pro Shops coming to the county, but said she's concerned about the location of the retail giant. She said she doesn't see representation for small business owners on the BOCC.
"We need someone in that office who knows what it's like to be a small business owner and knows what it's like to live here and be affected by their decisions," she said.
Mark Nash, a former staffer for Commissioner Kevin Beckner who lost to Higgenbotham lat year, told CL that he will run for office again next year, but is playing coy as to what office that will be.
"I have a pending announcement toward the end of the month," Nash told CL. "I'm not ready to reveal anything, but it's a safe bet that I won't be running in District 4."
Though the primary is just less than a year away, White is definitely the front-runner. Not only does the Valrico pharmacist lead all candidates in fundraising, but he recently picked up the endorsements of Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee and State Attorney Mark Ober.