Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

After recounts, Jason Sager declared winner in Hernando commission primary

BROOKSVILLE — After a day of recounts, Jason Sager was declared the winner in the Republican primary election in Hernando County Commission District 3, upending incumbent John Druzbick.

The unofficial final tally — 6,107 for Sager and 6,099 for Druzbick — was announced Wednesday evening.

Machine and hand recounts became necessary after Tuesday night's totals showed the two candidates tied, each with 6,097 votes. Wednesday's tallies included several provisional ballots that had been cast and not previously counted.

The tie vote was something Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams said she had never seen in Hernando County.

"This has never happened before,'' said Williams, who is retiring at the end of her current term. "Out of over 38 years in this office, this is the first time we've ever had a tie.''

Had the two candidates remained tied at the end of the recount, state law called for Druzbick and Sager to "draw lots'' to determine the winner.

As the recount got under way Wednesday, county employees and the two candidates chatted about the best game of chance to determine the winner, including a coin toss; picking a name out of a hat; rock, paper, scissors, and one suggestion for a duel.

But once the machine vote recount was finished, it seemed clear that Sager would emerge as the winner, even if his margin was small. Once the canvassing board announced the numbers, Sager's wife, Stephanie, erupted with a loud "Whoo!'' then looked around at those assembled in the Supervisor of Elections Office.

"Sorry,'' she said. "It had to be done.''

The couple embraced, relieved that their wait was almost over and that the news was good.

Because the margin remained so close, however, a hand count was necessary. During the final recount, the canvassing board looked at every over-vote and every under-vote. Those are ballots where a voter either marked multiple candidates in a race or didn't appear to vote in the race.

The hand count brought no change in the numbers, and the canvassing board declared Sager the unofficial winner.

When he learned he had bested Druzbick, Sager said, "I didn't have the words. I just wanted to hug my wife.''

He credited her for her hard work on his behalf and said he was grateful for his victory as a grassroots candidate who proved that it wasn't necessary to have power and money to win an election.

Sager's campaign focused on personal freedom, liberty and government providing only limited oversight of people's lives.

Throughout Wednesday's vote count, numerous county employees, some concerned about what that philosophy could mean for them if Sager wins his election in November, filed by the windows at the elections office with worried looks.

Druzbick, who recently voted to increase the county's property tax rate to make up for revenue shortfalls, stood outside the office for a while Wednesday morning, accepting handshakes from some of those same employees, who wished him well in the recount. He left hours before the count was announced.

Once officials contacted Druzbick to tell him that Sager was leading, he accepted the outcome, he said.

"Obviously, the public voted eight more votes for Jason Sager than for John Druzbick,'' he said. "Bottom line is that the residents of Hernando County were looking for a change.''

He said elections are always difficult, but this one seemed more so and had become personal. Druzbick said he was sorry that the dialogue wasn't more about how Sager plans to fix the county's dire financial problems.

"It was good one-liners," he said, "but no real substance on how we are going to fix this.''

Sager will face former county Commissioner Diane Rowden, a Democrat; no-party candidate Greg Sheldon, and write-in Tanya Marsh in the November general election.

Sager said he looked forward to the debate with Rowden since he and the former commissioner are, in his opinion, the very essence of conservative versus liberal.

"I've been warned by people who I know that it's going to get ugly,'' he said, stressing that he wants to keeps the race issue-based and not confrontational.

"That's not who we are,'' he said. "That's what we just proved.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Turns out, Andrei Vasilevskiy is all right.And, believe it or not, so is the Lightning’s penalty kill, which was the unlikely hero in Monday’s streak-snapping 2-0 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.Vasilevskiy, 23, played like the...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

New York TimesWASHINGTON — Congress brought an end to a three-day government shutdown on Monday as Senate Democrats buckled under pressure to adopt a short-term spending bill to fund government operations without first addressing the fate of young un...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Male bicyclist struck, killed by vehicle in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A male bicyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle on U.S. 19 on Monday night, according to Pinellas Park police.The incident took place at about 8:30 p.m. along the 8000 block of U.S. 19 N, near the Walmart Supercenter.The driver wa...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 22

Monday’s scoreboardBoys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Clearwater 0Boca Ciega 3, Indian Rocks Christian 1Girls soccerClass 4A, District 10: Countryside 7, Clearwater 0; Dixie Hollins 2, East Lake 0Class 3A, District 10: Osceola 14, Gibbs 0...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Jan. 22, midday:49 851 5049e_SRit11446Mon., Jan. 22, evening:05 733 5365e_SRit06330Fantasy 5Mon., Jan. 22...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

ST. PETERSBURGThe bay area’s thriving glass art scene adds another member to its ranks today when the Imagine Museum officially opens in downtown St. Petersburg.Dedicated to the movement of studio glass, the museum is the brainchild of benefactor Tri...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Facebook vows progress in halting election meddling

Facebook said Monday that it fell short in preventing the social media network from being used for foreign meddling in the U.S. presidential election.New blog posts written by Facebook executives appear to be the most critical self-assessment yet of ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Judge: Victims of sports doc are ‘sister survivor warriors’

Judge: Victims of sports doc are ‘sister survivor warriors’

Associated PressLANSING, Mich. — The judge overseeing the sentencing of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar said Monday that more than 120 girls and women who had given statements so far at the five-day hearing were "sister survivor warriors....
Updated: 6 hours ago
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severed his agency’s contract with CareerSource Pinellas on Monday after learning that the jobs center told the state it helped 624 sheriff’s employees get hired since 2014.The sheriff said he has no record of CareerSou...
Updated: 6 hours ago

TexasVoter-fraud panel targeted Hispanics, documents showPresident Donald Trump’s voter-fraud commission specifically asked for records identifying all Texas voters with Hispanic surnames, according to newly released documents. Records made public by...
Updated: 6 hours ago