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Mark Sharpe Exploring Bid Against Castor in Florida

Tampa Republican Mark Sharpe “is leaning toward a run” against Rep. Kathy Castor in Florida’s 11th district and will make an announcement in August.

If the 51-year-old Hillsborough County commissioner and Navy veteran decides to take on Castor, it won’t be his first time trying to win the 11th district seat. He lost by 4 points to then-Rep. Sam Gibbons (D) in 1994 and lost by 4 points to Democrat Jim Davis in 1996, when Gibbons retired and the seat became open.

After that, Sharpe gave up elective politics for almost a decade. He won his seat on the local county commission in 2004 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2010.

Sharpe said he is weighing several factors in deciding whether he will run for Congress again. “Is it the right thing to do? I’ve got a young a family and I think like a lot of people, you’re asking yourself: Is this the right place for me to be? Would I have a positive impact?”  

Castor had a GOP opponent earlier this year, but state Sen. Mike Bennett (R) dropped his candidacy after finding traveling and fishing more appealing.

Florida’s decennial Congressional redistricting process will likely remain unfinished until the middle of 2012. The Tampa-based district, as it is currently drawn, heavily favors Democrats.

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