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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

The cash campaign for Pasco superintendent



In the race for Pasco schools superintendent, Heather Fiorentino has all the benefits of incumbency.

Her name appears often in the paper as a news maker. Folks know her from years of public service. She makes decisions that give her more face time with the county's leadership structure.

Yet there's a flip side to that coin. Fiorentino is a Republican in an anti-GOP year. She's an office holder in a year when people seem fed up with the status quo. She makes decisions that just as easily can anger as please.

Observers say her Democratic opponent, Stephen Donaldson, has a chance to up-end Fiorentino in November. But to overcome her name recognition (usually the key to a down-ticket race like this), the Gulf High social studies teacher probably needs to raise $100,000, political insiders tell the Gradebook.

On that front, Donaldson's not there yet.

His most recent campaign contribution report shows that he's brought in $21,776, of which $12,627 was cash and checks. The rest came in the form of loans and in-kind donations, mostly from himself. His total cash for the campaign: $23,452. Fiorentino, on the other hand, reported receiving $5,095 in contributions, bringing her cash total to $25,780. Just $410 of her account has come as in-kind support.

The bottom line: Donaldson is bringing in cash, but the question remains whether staying close to the incumbent is good enough. There's no primary in this race, so things could heat up before November rolls around. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:51am]


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