Michigan Governor travels to Tampa to stump for Sister in law's City Council race by Mitch E. Perry

WMNF Drive-Time News Friday


Early voting began today in Tampa, for the Mayoral and City Council races.  The official election day in Tuesday, March 6th.


Although a couple of other races for Tampa City Council have seemingly gotten more of the public’s attention, the race for City Wide District 2 between Shawn Harrison and Mary Mulhern got decidedly more interesting over the weekend. 


Despite being vastly outspent so far, Mulhern says she thinks the issues that she’s running on will put her over the top on Election Day (roll tape#1 o.q.”this time again”)


Mulhern is being clobbered when it comes to fundraising.  The latest reported tallies have Harrison raising $157,000 to Mulhern’s $23,000, a 6 to 1 disparity.


But Mulhern’s candidacy appears to be catching on .  Over the weekend, both the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times- endorsed Mulhern, a Michigan transplant who ran for office for the first time last year, losing to Rose Ferlita for a Hillsborough County County Commmission race. 


Although local City Council races are considered non-partisan, the 2 candidates have distinct political philosophies.  Harrison is a Republican running on a fiscally conservative platform, whereas Mulhern is a lifelong Democrat. 


And she was able to cash in on a family connection over the weekend, inviting her sister in law, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, to make a quick campaign visit.  Speaking to WMNF shortly before Granholm was to make her appearance, the City Council candidate admitted it’s not everyday such a prominent politician flies from out of state for a  local race (roll tape#2 o.q.”and excited”)


As were many others, who crowded into host Janet Rifkin’s South Tampa home to get a glimpse of the Michigan Governor, and to contribute financially to the Mulhern campaign.  Among the Democrats in attendance included former State Senator Les Miller and his wife, City Council member Gwen Miller.  Former Mayor Sandy Freeman and former Hillsborough County Commissioner Phyllis Busansky, and Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman were also at the fundraiser, designed to give a boost to Mulhern’s Campaign fund account.


In her brief 10 minute address, Granholm alluded to her gubernatorial re-election campaign from last year, in which she was vastly outspent by her opponent,  Republican businessman Dick DeVos. (roll tape#3 o.q.”you’re communicating”)


In her re-election race, Granholm beat DeVos by a 52 to 43 percent margin. 


Mulhern, is probably best known in the bay area in her previous stint as an art critic for the alternative weekly newspaper then known as the Weekly Planet.   In her endorsement in the Times on Saturday, the paper wrote that Mulhern” recognizes the city’s problems and seems more prepared to do something about them”.


Her sister in law, a less objective Jennifer Granholm, seconded that endorsement
(roll tape#4 o.q.”applause”)


Mulhern is married to Cam Dilly, who helped create WMNF and hosts the Friday morning show on 88.5….The Michigan Governor chided Mulhern for failing to acknowledge him (roll tape#5 o.q.”first rule”)


Again, early voting has begun in Tampa.  The Election for all of  Tampa City Council’s seats, along with the Mayor, is at stake.  

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