Hillsborough County Property Appraiser candidates debate in Tampa

  • Ronda Storms

Although the circumstances that created an open seat in the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's office were something of a media sensation, the race to replace Rob Turner in that role has been anything but.

Turner, you'll recall, was ousted by fellow Republican Ronda Storms in the August primary election after serving 16 years in the position. It was the public's way of showing disgust with his behavior, after it was revealed that he had shared "lurid" texts and emails with a former girlfriend who just happened to be the office's human resources director (including exchanges after he was married). Turner said because all the communications between himself and Carolyn Filippone were done off company time and company equipment it didn't reflect on his job performance, but the GOP electorate didn't agree.

At Wednesday afternoon's candidates forum between Storms, Democrat Bob Henriquez, and Independent candidate James DeMio at the Tampa Club, only state Sen. Storms mentioned Turner, and she did so freely, saying she wants to clean up the office.

"You might think that's what caused me to run, but that's not it," she told the crowd consisting of members of the Kiwanis Club of Tampa and the Hillsborough County League of Women Voters about Turner's fall from grace. "The headlines explained to me what I'd already known."

She added that she had worked with "multiple constituents" who have had bad experiences with Turner regarding their property appraisals.