NEW PORT RICHEY — Chief Deputy Clerk Paula O'Neil handily defeated former New Port Richey Mayor Dan Tipton in Tuesday's Republican primary for clerk of the court.
She will face Democrat Bob Altman in the general election.
O'Neil defeated Tipton by a nearly 3-1 ratio.
"I'm honored and I appreciate all the support of the voters," O'Neil said.
Jed Pittman is in the 32nd and last year of his reign as clerk of the court. Though his last years in office have been marked by illness and an infrequent work schedule, Pittman said he still has the wherewithal to finish out his term.
He brought O'Neil on board in 2002 as his strategic planner. Then in 2006 she was elevated to her current post as Pittman's No. 2, chief deputy clerk.
O'Neil, a 51-year-old divorced mother of two sons, ran on her 21 years of experience working in Pasco County government. She started as a parks manager in 1987.
Under O'Neil, the clerk's office has made several recent technical advancements, including online access to records. She wants to continue that work while trimming the budget in tough economic times.
Tipton, 56, is a married father of two and former two-term mayor of New Port Richey. He touted his experience outside of government in his run for clerk. He has been a businessman for 38 years and has been active in community groups for almost as long.
Altman lost a bid to unseat Pittman in the 2004 election.