Hillsborough County Commissioner and Republican Florida Senate candidate Jim Norman has found himself on the defensive with the Tampa media over a home in his wife’s name in Arkansas.

A Tampa ABC affiliate reported that Norman is not required to list the $435,000 home on his Florida financial disclosure forms, and the commissioner refused to say where his wife got the cash to pay for the home. He claims he is not involved in her investments, according to local newspapers reports following the revelations on ABC.

Norman accused his opponent, state Rep. Kevin Ambler, R-Tampa, of planting the story with the media, which the state representative denied Friday. In media reports, Norman called on Ambler to stick to coming after him politically, and leaving his family out of the fray.

The exchange in the media could be the start of a heated primary race between two longtime Tampa-area Republican politicians.

Ambler is giving up his House seat due to term limits, and is running against Norman for the District 12 Senate spot. Norman has been a staple in local politics in the region since the early 1990s, serving on countywide and district Hillsborough County Commission seats.

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