Ronda Storms, Bob Henriquez file to run against Rob Turner for Hillsborough County Appraiser

The Valrico-based legislator said she first heard about Turner's porn exchanges when she spotted the Tampa Bay Times headline Tuesday in a newspaper vending box while celebrating her daughter's 13th birthday at the beach. She said she was "appalled" when she read the story, especially upon reading that Turner said he would still run for re-election.


"I believe that a woman needs to be one to step up and say, 'This is not acceptable.' This is not an acceptable response to female employees. This is not an acceptable response as a public official. This is not the way the taxpayers expect us," Storms told reporters. "We're not entitled to special treatment. If this was ever done at a private corporation, people would find themselves out of a job. It's not my job to make that judgment, but my job to arrange the introduction so that the voters can make that judgment."


Bob Henriquez did not hold a press conference, but the former District 58 House Democrat said that the circumstances right now make the race "attractive" for whoever would consider a candidacy.


There is already a Democrat in the race ? James DeMio, who has never run for public office in Florida.


Henriquez worked in the Property Appraiser's office while in college, and says that after working the past few years as an administrator with the Department of Children and Families ? a large state agency ? he believes the job fits his "skill set," referring to his background in land use and growth management while serving in the Legislature from 1998-2006.


The Tampa Democrat said that, since stepping down in Tallahassee six years ago due to term limits, he's been courted to run for various offices in the Bay area, including Property Appraiser. In fact, the Tampa Bay Times earlier on Friday wrote about speculation that Henriquez would run for a state House seat in district 63 representing Temple Terrace.


If Henriquez wins the Democratic primary ? which he would today based on the current field ? he probably would be considered the underdog, unless Turner shocks the world and A) runs for re-election and B) defeats Ronda Storms.


Henriquez says the position shouldn't be partisan, but believes he can garner Republican and independent votes in the fall because of his reputation of being a centrist Democrat.


"I don't know how much you appraise somebody's house or business or land as what it's worth and consequently how much they ultimately pay in taxes [can be] a partisan issue," he maintains.


There's still two weeks to go before the filing deadline, so other names could be getting into the contest. Now the race is on among Republicans to run for the Senate seat Storms will leave to run for the appraiser's gig.

Less than a week ago Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Rob Turner was sitting pretty with no serious competition for a fifth four-year term in office.

But his world changed on Tuesday after he admitted to exchanging pornographic texts and emails with his department's Human Resources Director before firing her. Turner said he did so after the EEOC rejected her complaint that she had been discriminated against when he reduced her responsibilities.

On Friday two prominent Hillsborough County politicians announced they were running for the office. The biggest name challenge comes from a fellow Republican — state Senator Ronda Storms. Also filing today to run as a Democrat was former Tampa House member Bob Henriquez.

In a press conference held at the Supervisor of Elections office on Falkenberg Road, Storms blasted Turner, saying he had "embarrassed himself… embarrassed the office and has embarrassed the party." She said she was running to restore professionalism, integrity and accountability to the Property Appraisers office.

Storms called the revelations about Turner a "trauma" to the taxpayers and a "shock" to those who thought they were electing a conservative, pro-family candidate.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]