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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Challenger Browning takes huge lead in money race for Pasco superintendency



Money doesn't equal votes. But it sure does help in getting a candidate's message out to potential voters.

Kurt Browning is banking on that as he angles to oust incumbent Pasco schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino.

The latest campaign finance reports, released today, show Browning with a commanding lead in financial contributions over Fiorentino. The challenger raised $42,951 in the last quarter, compared to the incumbent's $6,604. After taking into account expenses, Browning has nearly $60,000 left to spend, while Fiorentino has about $3,000.

Browning's donor base includes a broad cross section of residents, including educators, business owners and others. Supporters include Dade City banker Hjalma Johnson, west Pasco rancher JB Starkey, retired West Zephyrhills Elementary principal Emily Keene and USEP vice president Kenny Blankenship, among others.

Fiorentino's donor base includes many members of her administration, including chief finance officer Olga Swinson, planning director Chris Williams, new construction director John Petrashek and several principals and assistant principals. Other backers include county commissioner Pat Mulieri and retired PHCC president Bob Judson.

"It does matter," Browning said. "Keep in mind, I'm running against a two-term incumbent. We need to get our message out."

Fiorentino said she also was working to inform voters, but added she did not want to ask supporters for more money than she needs for her campaign. She has scheduled another fund raiser for next week.

[Last modified: Friday, July 13, 2012 2:12pm]


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