Patel District

Aakash Patel, who is running for a County Commission seat in Florida, has switched from District 1 to District 7. (patel2018.com photo)

An Indian American candidate in Florida, Aakash Patel, June 10 announced he has switched races, going from being a candidate in Hillsborough County Commission District 1 to filing for the District 7 seat.

A Republican, Patel had been campaigning for the Hillsborough County seat for the past year, a seat that was vacated by Sandra Murman, who filed for a run at the countywide District 7 commission seat.

Now, according to a tampabay.com report, Patel is running for that District 7 seat.

Patel’s announcement followed Murman’s surprise move June 8 to let a deadline pass without filing papers with the Supervisor of Elections office to resign from her District 1 commission seat. Instead, Murman announced she would remain in office until term-limited out in 2020, the publication said.

That left Patel, who has raised about $450,000 since filing to run for the District 1 race last year, temporarily without a 2018 race, the report said. 

"I have walked neighborhoods throughout District 1, I have spoken to nearly every Republican Club in Hillsborough County, and I have been honored by the outpouring of support from many voters outside of District 1," Patel said in a statement, according to the report. 

"I want to continue this momentum as I move forward through the countywide election on Aug. 28," Patel continued.

The District 7 seat is currently held by Commissioner Al Higginbotham, who is retiring at the end of his term, the report said.

Patel’s District 7 opponents are Democrats Charles Davis III, Kimberly Overman, Corey Reynolds and Sky U. White and Republican Cherie Denham, according to the publication.

The son of Indian immigrants, Patel has lived in Florida since 1998. He has had politics in his blood since high school, when he ran for freshman class treasurer and went on to be student body vice president, National Honor society treasurer and president of the student advisory council.

He has worked at the Tampa Bay Times while he was a student at Florida State University and worked in public relations, real estate and hospitality, and eventually a technology company upon graduating from FSU.

Among the issues Patel is campaigning to address if elected include transportation, education, economic development, tourism, government efficiency and public safety, according to his campaign site. (See earlier India-West story here.)

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