Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bill Gunter wins GOP nomination in House 36 race

Bill Gunter, 43, was the early favorite, raising about $83,000.

Bill Gunter, 43, was the early favorite, raising about $83,000.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Presbyterian minister Bill Gunter appears to have handily won the GOP nomination for House District 36.

Unofficial returns in Tuesday's special election show Gunter captured 63 percent of the vote. Turnout in the race, which was open only to registered Republicans, was just 10 percent.

Supported by House Speaker Will Weatherford, Rep. Richard Corcoran, Sheriff Chris Nocco, schools superintendent Kurt Browning and several lobbyists, Gunter, 43, quickly emerged as a favorite, raising about $83,000, mostly from outside the district.

James Mathieu, 60, finished second with 20 percent of the vote. Newcomer Jeromy Harding, 23, received 17 percent. Mathieu ran unsuccessfully for the seat last year against Mike Fasano, who recently vacated it to replace Tax Collector Mike Olson, who died in June.

"I'm just excited and very humbled at the same time," said Gunter, who lost a bid last year to unseat Pasco Commissioner Jack Mariano.

Gunter said he decided to run after hearing church members and friends complain about property insurance, sinkhole costs and utility rates. He said he would bring industry to Pasco to create jobs. He suggested partnering with groups such as Metropolitan Ministries to help people access jobs and housing.

He favors school vouchers and standardized testing but opposes increased state funding for education, saying the private sector should play a larger role. Regarding Common Core state educational standards, Gunter has said: "We must look at it all and figure out which standards achieve the greatest outcomes for our schoolchildren."

He believes Citizens' rates should be capped and that laws governing sinkhole repairs should be overhauled to eliminate costly requirements for home­owners.

House District 36 runs west of Little Road from Hernando to Pinellas. Mathieu was the only candidate who lived in the district. Gunter would need to move to the district before the supervisor of elections certifies the Oct. 15 general election results.

He will face Democrat Amanda Murphy, 43, an investment adviser at Raymond James who was not challenged.

The race was closely watched by state Democratic officials, who issued a statement Tuesday night before the final results were reported. Democrats have targeted the district as winnable. There are 34,926 Democrats to 32,525 Republicans. Close to 21,000 people list no party affiliation on their voter cards.

"Bill Gunter is the textbook example of a politician who's bought and paid for by the wealthy Tallahassee interests," Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Allison Tant said. "Only a paltry 5 percent of Bill Gunter's campaign cash came from Pasco County, and he has raised more money from outside the state of Florida than he has from people in the district he is trying to represent. Amanda Murphy will represent Pasco County as a strong and independent voice committed to creating jobs and investing in education."

Gunter called Murphy "a worthy opponent" and offered no further response.

"My desire is to serve the people of this community and continue to fight on behalf of the constituents of House District 36, which Mike Fasano did so well."

Bill Gunter wins GOP nomination in House 36 race 09/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport

    Airlines

    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]
  2. Google parent leads $1B Lyft investment, deepening Uber rift

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — Google's parent company is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber.

    This  file photo shows a smartphone displaying the Lyft app.Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber. [Associated Press, 2016]
  3. Check out what this former Buc has cooking in Buffalo

    Bucs

    Leonard Johnson is thrilled to extend his NFL career in Buffalo this season, but whenever his playing days are over, the former Bucs cornerback is ready for life after football.

    He's actually pretty excited.

    Buffalo Bills cornerback Leonard Johnson catches a pass during an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Saturday, July 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
  4. Editorial: Arrests show construction licensing board's faults

    Editorials

    Ripping off consumers got a little harder in Pinellas County this week after teams of deputies launched a predawn operation and arrested unlicensed contractors. It was a needed crackdown on a problem that appears rampant in Pinellas because the agency charged with overseeing local contractors has no policing …

    Ripping off consumers got a little harder in Pinellas County this week after teams of deputies executed a predawn operation, arresting unlicensed contractors.
  5. Dade City teen arrested after authorities say he pulled fake gun on student

    Crime

    DADE CITY — A 14-year-old boy faces felony charges after he pulled a fake gun on a Pasco Middle School student near the school Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities.