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Politics

CD 14: Kathy Castor a Heavy Favorite to Win Fourth Term in Congress

July 29, 2012 - 6:00pm

As she continues to run for a fourth term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., is a heavy favorite to keep her seat in the Tampa Bay area.

An easy winner over architect Eddie Adams, the Republican who faced her in 2006 and 2008, Castor had a harder time with Mike Prendergast, a veteran and businessman who emerged out of the GOP primary to challenge her in 2010. While Adams took 30 percent in 2006 and 29 percent in 2008 against Castor, Prendergast pulled 40 percent -- but Castor still won handily.

Castor currently represents most of Tampa in Hillsborough County, but her district also contains parts of Manatee and Pinellas counties. As she seeks a fourth term, Castor still faces voters in Hillsborough County but she has lost the other counties now in CD 14.

As of June 30, the end of the second quarter of 2012, Castor holds an impressive fundraising advantage over her rivals in the race. With no Democratic opposition in the August primary, Castor has raised almost $484,750 in contributions and almost $315,000 from PACs. With more than $830,000 in the bank, Castor has a healthy war chest to use in the general election.

Two Republicans are battling it out in the primary on Aug. 14, though both start off as heavy underdogs in their attempts to knock Castor off.

Adams is back for a fourth shot at Congress. While he challenged Castor in the general elections in 2006 and 2008, he lost out to Prendergast in the primary in 2010. There is little to indicate that Adams will have any more success this time out. Adams has not filed his fundraising and campaign reports with the Federal Elections Commission -- meaning his cash flow has been anemic.

Retired Air Force Col. E. J. Otero is also running for the Republican nomination. With almost 30 years in the military, including more than a decade in the Tampa area, Otero is looking to put that experience and his time in the private sector to use in Congress. Otero has been much more active than Adams in terms of fundraising, bringing in more than $72,000 from individuals and loaning his campaign $20,000. As of June 30, Otero had $42,700 in the bank -- giving him a healthy lead over Adams in the money chase, though trailing Castor by a wide margin.

Waiting in November for Castor and the Republican that emerges is Bill Kee who is running with no party affiliation. Kee is a pro-life activist and is planning to take a page from former Democratic presidential candidate Randall Terrys playbook in running ads showing aborted fetuses.

Terry, who ran in the Republican primary against late state Sen. Jim King in 2006 on the First Coast, is running with no party affiliation against U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., in the general election. Kee has kicked in $10,000 to his campaign and has not relied on contributions from other individuals. By June 30, Kee had more than $2,200 on hand.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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