LUTZ — It's been a rough year for guv'natorial politics in Lutz.
The new guv'na herself, Stephanie Ensor, is upbeat and irreverent, just as the job description requires.
But this year's race for guv'na — a tongue-in-cheek honor for the top fundraiser in the community — saw two of four candidates drop out to focus on their respective businesses.
As a result, the race ended up raising about $3,510, less than a third of last year's $12,000. In 2008, candidates raised more than $22,000.
So last week a key organizer of the tradition issued an unusual call to action.
"Think about people in your group or your organization" who could make a run for guv'na next year, Eleanor Cecil told local charities at a Sept. 16 meeting of the Lutz Civic Association.
Running for guv'na would entail holding a series of community fundraisers next spring. Cecil promised candidates wouldn't have to go it alone.
"We will help them," she said. "We will do whatever we can to support them. Every cent that is raised goes back to nonprofits."
Meanwhile, this year's money was split among 19 groups, more than half of them Scout troops. About a third went to Old Lutz School, but with the economy sputtering, volunteers said they appreciate every dollar they got.
Scout troops planned to use the donations for scholarships for Scouts from struggling families, camping gear and service projects, including one to make small pillows to send to troops overseas and another to educate teens about dating abuse.
The Lutz Patriots planned to use its money to buy snacks, toiletries and sundries to provide comfort to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We can't do it without the support of the community," the Patriots' Bruce Hockensmith said. "Every penny of this we're going to spend tomorrow, because we're going to send packages Saturday. It'll be put to good use."