Rowden, Lodato head to run-off in race for Hernando’s District 3 School Board seat

Hernando County School Board member Jimmy Lodato faces Diane Rowden (right.) [Courtesy of Jimmy Lodato/Courtesy of Diane Rowden]
Hernando County School Board member Jimmy Lodato faces Diane Rowden (right.) [Courtesy of Jimmy Lodato/Courtesy of Diane Rowden]
Published August 28 2018
Updated November 5 2018

Former Hernando County official Diane Rowden and schools advocate Jimmy Lodato will battle for the District 3 seat of the Hernando School Board in November's general election.

Rowden finished Tuesday's primary election with about 40.54 percent of the vote, according to the Hernando County Supervisor of Elections. Lodato trailed her by less than a single percentage point, with 39.35 percent.

A third candidate, Julius "Jules" Blazys, fell out of the race with about 20 percent.

Rowden's platform centers on booting mental health services for Hernando students. Lodato has said, if elected, he would fight for better teacher pay, expand services for students with special needs and continue supporting vocational programs.

Reached by phone after results posted, Lodato said he's "thrilled" to be in the run-off.

"We're going to win in November," he said. "It's all about my kids, my teachers and my community."

Rowden said she has the same confidence heading in the general election.

"I'm very happy and I certainly appreciate everyone that came out and voted for me," she said. "I encourage them to do the same in November."

MORE: Candidates for Hernando's District 3 School Board seat talk mental health, technical education

School Board races are nonpartisan. Members set policy and approve budgets for the school district. They must live in the community where their seat is based, but are elected countywide. They serve four-year terms and are paid $36,276 per year.

Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com. Follow @mareevs.

For statewide election coverage check out The Buzz

For local election coverage check out the Bay Buzz

For school board election coverage check out The Gradebook.

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