Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

Hernando commission candidate's affair stuns GOP leaders

RECOMMENDED READING


BROOKSVILLE — News of Hernando County Commission candidate Jason Sager's extramarital affair caught local Republican leaders and others off guard Friday.

Sager, the GOP candidate for District 3, admitted Thursday that he had an affair earlier this year with his media liaison, Danielle Alexandre, contributing to the breakup of her marriage.

The admission came after the Times confronted him with videos, photographs and emails collected by her ex-husband, Edward "Eddie" Alexandre.

Some Republican leaders said they will continue to support Sager, 38. Other key supporters, including Tommy Bronson, a former mining executive who was one of the earliest Sager supporters, and Jim Kimbrough, SunTrust Bank/Nature Coast chief executive officer, did not return calls seeking comment.

Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the local Republican Executive Committee, said the executive board will meet to discuss the issue. He would not comment further.

"It's a mess,'' said real estate agent Gary Schraut, who has supported Sager's candidacy. "I'm saddened for Stephanie (Sager's wife), and I'm saddened for their son.''

He said he differs with Sager on some issues but could not support the other District 3 candidates, Democrat Diane Rowden and no-party candidate Greg Sheldon. He said he wished incumbent John Druzbick had not been knocked out of the race by Sager in the primary.

He said Hernando voters face a "dilemma'' and predicted a major undervote in the District 3 race.

Schraut said he has witnessed enough campaigns to know how hard they are on families, even without explosive developments such as Sager's affair.

"To have it played out on the front page of the newspaper, that's his fault,'' he said.

Tom Hogan Sr., a longtime state committeeman, said news of the Sager affair hit him hard.

"Everything considered, I'm still supporting him,'' he said.

He said it is up to Sager and his wife, and not party leadership, to decide whether he should stay in the race. Sager said Thursday he would stay in the race because he doesn't want to see Rowden step into the seat.

U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent, who fended off Sager's attacks in an ugly Republican primary battle two years ago, lent his name to a recent fundraiser for Sager.

Would he do it again?

"I'm not going to go down that road," he said. "It is what it is. The losers in this really are the families."

Voters will have to consider Sager's assertion that his personal life wouldn't affect his ability as a commissioner, Nugent said.

"I'm sure he's sincere in that," he said, "but that's up to the voters at this point in the time."

The revelations, and Sager's initial denial, should give voters great pause, said Steve Zeledon, chairman of the Hernando Democratic Executive Committee.

"Character counts," Zeledon said. "A candidate's personal life instructs us on what to expect in his dealings in the public arena."

Sheldon, the no-party candidate in District 3, said he was shocked to see the news about Sager because he heard Sager talk about his son and his family at almost every political forum. His wife was often by his side.

"I don't feel bad for Jason Sager because he put himself in this situation. But I do feel bad for his wife and his son, Bob,'' Sheldon said. "This throws out any credibility, as he is walking around portraying himself like he's already a senator.''

Rowden, the Democratic candidate, reacted similarly.

"My first reaction is sadness,'' Rowden said. "He's got a son. He's got a wife. … There are a lot of lives that are being impacted here.''

She said asking people to trust a candidate and vote him or her into office "has everything to do with character.''

Sager said he spent the day answering numerous calls and contacts from supporters.

"It's the most Christian response I could have ever asked for,'' he said. "Obviously, I don't feel I deserve it, but the outpouring of forgiveness is nothing short of extraordinary.''

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — McKenzie Milton threw four touchdowns and ran for a score as No. 14 Central Florida comfortably took care of business against Temple, winning 45-19 Saturday to stay unbeaten heading into a showdown with rival USF. The Knights (10-0, 7-...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

Malcolm Young, the AC/DC co-founder whose brash guitar riffs, tight songwriting and live-wire personality defined an era of rock ‘n’ roll, has died. He was 64.AC/DC announced his death on its Facebook page Saturday. The time, location and cause of hi...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI GARDENS — Malik Rosier threw three touchdowns and ran for another score, and No. 2 Miami pulled off its biggest comeback in five years by holding off Virginia 44-28 on Saturday to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 15 games. Jaquan J...
Updated: 1 hour ago
On the night shift in Seminole Heights, Tampa police keep watch for a killer

On the night shift in Seminole Heights, Tampa police keep watch for a killer

TAMPA — Tampa Police Lt. Gary Neal is almost halfway into his shift when the shots ring out.He jumps into his white 2016 Dodge Charger and races the few blocks from District 3 headquarters to the scene of a drive-by shooting in a city rattled by a sp...
Updated: 1 hour ago

HomeTeam Hot Shots: Female nominations for Nov. 11-17

Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate female Hot Shots from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Nov. 11-Friday, Nov. 17. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Mond...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State tied a school record for first-half points as it rolled to a 77-6 victory over Delaware State on Saturday. The 71-point win also marks the second-highest margin of victory by Florida State. The record is 74 in a shutout ag...
Updated: 1 hour ago

HomeTeam Hot Shots: Male nominations for Nov. 11-17

Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male Hot Shots from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Nov. 11-Friday, Nov. 17. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Boater missing in waters north of Bradenton, dog found alive

Boater missing in waters north of Bradenton, dog found alive

CORTEZ — The Coast Guard and others are scouring the waters near Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island, for a 63-year-old boater who has been missing since Friday evening. Fraser Horne, from Cortez, left Egmont Key on his 30-foot boat, Golde...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

TAMPA — Can the Bucs pull off back-to-back wins with a backup quarterback? Win a game on the road for the first time this season? Politely hand the unnamed trophy for the state’s worst football team back to the Dolphins?Mike Evans is back from his su...
Updated: 3 hours ago