Saturday, January 20, 2018
Politics

Brooksville Democrat David Welch drops out of state House race

BROOKSVILLE ­— Brooksville Democrat David Welch has dropped out of the race for an open state House seat.

Welch, 49, made the announcement on Facebook early Tuesday.

He wrote that a "family situation" is forcing him to withdraw from the race for the District 35 seat, currently held by Rob Schenck, a Spring Hill Republican who must leave office because of term limits.

"I am deeply disappointed but family must come first," Welch wrote. "However, I plan on coming back into politics in the 2016 election. My heart is broken that I can not serve right now in a political office, but I will be back — just want to take care of family first."

Welch declined to elaborate in an interview, saying it was a personal matter that he wanted to keep private.

A residential counselor at a mental health center and president of the Hernando chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Welch filed in October and was the first Democrat to enter the race.

For now at least, his departure leaves a clear primary path in the Democratic primary for former Hernando County commissioner Rose Rocco, 72, of Spring Hill, who filed earlier this month.

Spring Hill homebuilder Blaise Ingoglia was the only Republican in the race as of early Tuesday. Ingoglia, 43, is chairman of the Hernando Republican Executive Committee and vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

"It's a shame he's pulling out, but fortunately we have someone who has the depth of experience who can do a job of representing us in Tallahassee," said Hernando Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Steve Zeledon.

Asked if he would be throwing his support behind Rocco, Welch said he plans to stay neutral for now. He said he considers Rocco a friend but is hopeful a stronger candidate will jump into the race. He noted Rocco's anemic fundraising in her unsuccessful 2012 bid against Schenck.

"Rose has got a great heart, but we need somebody who's going to show some real leadership and I don't know if she's got that in her," he said.

Rocco noted her involvement in various community organizations over the years.

"I think I've proven my leadership with all the groups I've chaired or presided over," she said. "That's not something I feel I need to defend."

District 35 includes most of Hernando, except for the area generally north of State Road 50 and west of the Suncoast Parkway.

Tony Marrero can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.

Comments
U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

WASHINGTON ó The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trumpís inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunctio...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Battle lines already forming for Menendez corruption retrial

Battle lines already forming for Menendez corruption retrial

NEWARK, N.J. ó U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez might spend 2018 asking voters to re-elect him and jurors to acquit him. Prosecutors from the Department of Justice told a federal judge in New Jersey on Friday that they will seek a retrial of the Democratic sen...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said people were entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.Clearly, Moynihan never dealt with Florida legislators.Because around Tallahassee, facts are fungible. They arenít just up for ...
Published: 01/19/18
Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

WASHINGTON ó A bitterly-divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being dep...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

CLEARWATER ó Voters may not be too familiar with the name John Funk.So since launching his campaign for City Council Seat 5 against well-known incumbent Hoyt Hamilton, Funk said he has knocked on 2,000 doors to introduce himself. Before the March 13 ...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

CLEARWATER ó By asking voters to elect him into office a fifth time, Hoyt Hamilton knows heís now considered part of the old-guard. Born and raised in Clearwater, his family roots stretch back here more than 100 years. Hamilton, 59, spent nearly his ...
Published: 01/19/18

Q&A: Government shutdown looms. Hereís what you need to know

Lawmakers have until midnight tonight to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown.Hereís what that means. Why would the government shut down?Every year, Congress has to approve laws, known as appropriations, that provide money for federal agen...
Published: 01/18/18
Redington Shores mayor, commission positions filled with no opponents

Redington Shores mayor, commission positions filled with no opponents

REDINGTON SHORES ó There will be no election this year, but the changeout of commission members that began last year will continue. When the new commission is sworn in this March, four of five members, including the mayor, will have changed within th...
Published: 01/18/18
Rick Baker leaving Edwards Group, promoting new book

Rick Baker leaving Edwards Group, promoting new book

ST. PETERSBURG ó Rick Baker is opening a new chapter in his life. So far, the future remains an open book.The former two-term mayor announced Sunday that heís resigning his position as president of the Edwards Group effective Jan. 31.Baker has worked...
Published: 01/18/18
Madeira Beach voters have clear choices as battle lines form over growth

Madeira Beach voters have clear choices as battle lines form over growth

By Sheila Mullane EstradaTimes CorrespondentMADEIRA BEACH ó Voters here can either end or continue the cityís divisive politics on March 13. They will also decide how the city grows.The two commission seats that now represent pro-growth and pro-devel...
Published: 01/18/18