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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Challenger Browning spends big in bid to upend incumbent Pasco superintendent Fiorentino



As the race for Pasco schools superintendent enters the home stretch, challenger Kurt Browning extended his fund raising lead over incumbent Heather Fiorentino while also vastly outspending Fiorentino in an attempt to reach voters.

"We've got to communicate," Browning told the Gradebook, stressing that it's tough to vie against a two-term sitting office holder. "You've got to get your message out."

In the July 7-20 reporting period, Browning raised another more than $18,000 in contributions, surpassing the $100,000 mark overall. Some of his notable backers included school choice and voucher advocate John Kirtley, former Pasco superintendent Tom Weightman, and retired charter school administrator Michael Rom. 

Browning also spent more than $40,000 during the period, including $20,000 for television advertising that now runs regularly on Bright House cable channels including Bay News 9 and the History Channel. The ad, featured on his Facebook page as well, was filmed in a local private school, Genesis Preparatory.

Fiorentino, by contrast, collected just under $5,000 in the reporting period and spent less than $1,000. Her big drop came with a double mailer in the previous reporting period. Among Fiorentino's notable backers in the latest cycle were Dr. Rao Musunuru, retired New Port Richey police chief Martin Rickus (now a district teacher), and civic activist/hospital administrator Kurt Conover.

With two weeks remaining in the race, Fiorentino reports having about $7,500 on hand, compared to about $30,000 for Browning. The next campaign finance reports are due Aug. 10.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 3:28pm]


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