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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco County school superintendent's race to be a closed primary after all

Democrats and independents might not have a say in who leads Pasco County's school district after all.

Former county commissioner Ed Collins has filed papers to become a write-in candidate for Pasco schools superintendent, closing off the hotly contested Republican primary to non-party members. Collins is a longtime friend and political ally of state Sen. Mike Fasano, who's strongly backing incumbent superintendent Heather Fiorentino. But Fasano said he had nothing to do with Collins' move.

"I was not aware of Ed (running) until he called me Monday," Fasano said. "I do know Ed Collins is a big believer, as are many in the party ranks, that Republicans should vote for Republicans in the primaries and Democrats should vote for Democrats."

Fiorentino faces a tough challenge from former county supervisor of elections Kurt Browning, who announced he would seek the job after resigning as Florida secretary of state earlier this year. Political newcomer Ken Benson, a Moon Lake construction worker, also has qualified, complicating the field. 

Back in March, GOP leaders said they didn't intend to field any candidates to block outsiders from participating in the August primary if no Democrats emerged. Now it looks like we'll have to watch and see how many people change their affliliation to weigh in on the keenly watched race. More details as they become available.

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:35am]


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