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Adkins, Rowden and Nicholson win seats on Hernando County Commission

New Hernando County Commissioner Diane Rowden holds the arm of her husband, Jay, as their son calls to congratulate her.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

New Hernando County Commissioner Diane Rowden holds the arm of her husband, Jay, as their son calls to congratulate her.

BROOKSVILLE — Jim Adkins easily won his second term on the Hernando County Commission on Tuesday, and he will be joined by one former commissioner, Democrat Diane Rowden, and one new commissioner, Republican Nick Nicholson.

Nicholson won with a commanding lead over his Democratic opponent, Arlene Glantz, and Independent Joseph Swilley in the District 1 race.

The vote was closer for Rowden, who bested Republican Jason Patrick Sager for the District 3 seat.

Rowden's victory came after scandal erupted in Sager's candidacy just a few weeks ago when the ex-husband of Sager's media liaison, Danielle Alexandre, came forward with evidence that Sager had an affair with his wife.

At first, Sager denied the affair. But when he was confronted by the Times with steamy emails and was told that the Times had explicit photos and a video of Sager and Ms. Alexander in the bedroom she had shared with her then-husband, Sager admitted a three-month affair.

Sager, a purchasing and logistics manager for a Spring Hill company, has a platform focused on more liberty, less government and family values.

Rowden, a retired flight attendant and former commissioner, pitched her candidacy with examples of how she had worked to help individual businesses succeed by acting as a conduit between small companies and the government services they need.

She also noted that when she served on the commission, the tax rate was decreased three times and that money stockpiled during the boom helped blunt the effects of the bust that followed.

"I'm excited," Rowden said as the final precincts were counted and she was heading for victory. "I just want to let everyone know how much I appreciate everyone who supported me.

"This election," she said, "is about helping the people in our community, but also about helping our small businesses."

In the District 1 commission race, incumbent Jeff Stabins decided to not seek another term. Nicholson, an engineer who has been active in a number of community organizations over the years, said he ran to try to make a difference from inside government.

He said he wants to assess the county administrator and his department heads and plans to find additional ways of cutting costs to avoid having to raise taxes.

Nicholson was celebrating with friends at the Brooksville Beef 'O' Brady's as votes were trickling in Tuesday evening. He said he had thanked his supporters.

"There's no way you can do this without a lot of good help," he said.

Nicholson was already looking to the tasks ahead.

"I hope I'm able to do what I want to do, and that is improve the well-being of the people of Hernando County and follow through with my platform," he said.

Glantz, a retired lawyer, pushed for the county and the school district to establish an adult technical training program and create new funding initiatives that would raise added revenue without increasing taxes.

Adkins, the District 5 incumbent, ran a low-key race for what he said would be his second and final term on the commission. Retired as the Brooksville fire chief, he manages a ranch.

He said he was encouraged by friends to seek another term and spoke about accomplishments that ranged from his constituent service when community issues arose to his willingness to approve incentives to entice new business and business expansion.

His opponent, Ramon Gutierrez, a real estate agent, campaigned on a platform that the commissioners were making too many cuts in services, damaging the future of the county.

Adkins said he wanted to thank all of the people who supported for him and said, "I look forward to the opportunity to serve another term working hard for the citizens of Hernando County."

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1434.

Adkins, Rowden and Nicholson win seats on Hernando County Commission 11/06/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 11:44pm]
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