Saturday, June 23, 2018
Politics

Early returns posted in Pasco County

COUNTY JUDGE

9 p.m. With 99 percent of the precincts in, New Port Richey attorney Frank Grey secured his spot on the bench with 54 percent of the vote. He beat senior assistant public defender Tom Hanlon in a runoff to replace retiring Judge Robert Cole.

7:35 p.m. New Port Richey attorney Frank Grey is leading with nearly 53 percent of the votes so far in the race to replace retiring Judge Robert Cole. Grey faces senior assistant public defender Tom Hanlon in this runoff, as they were the top vote-getters in a four-person race in the Aug. 14 primary.

COUNTY COMMISSION

9 p.m. Kathryn Starkey clinched the seat with 58.5 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting. The former School Board member will replace fellow Republican and longtime friend Ann Hildebrand, who is retiring.

7:30 p.m. Former School Board member Kathryn Starkey, a Republican, leads Democrat Matt Murphy with 57 percent of the ballots counted so far. They are vying to replace retiring commissioner Ann Hildebrand.

CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS

9 p.m. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, victory was clear for Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, Clerk of Courts Paula O'Neil, Property Appraiser Mike Wells and Tax Collector Mike Olson.

All four held onto commanding leads over their opponents.

7:40 p.m. With 67 percent of the votes in, Pasco's incumbents retained significant leads over their challengers.

Sheriff Chris Nocco, a Republican who was appointed to the job in the spring of 2011, has about 65 percent of the votes so far over Democratic challenger Kim Bogart, who is making his second run for office.

Clerk of Courts Paula O'Neil, a Republican seeking her second term, has 75 percent of the votes so far over her non-party opponent, Roberta Cutting.

Property Appraiser Mike Wells, a Republican seeking his fifth and final term, had 67 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Allison Newlon, a San Antonio Realtor.

And Pasco's only countywide-elected Democrat, Tax Collector Mike Olson, held a strong lead with nearly 69 percent of the votes so far over Republican challenger Ed Blommel, a retired Tampa Electric Co. executive.

7:15 p.m. Pasco's incumbents showed a strong early lead as the absentee ballots and early votes were posted shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m.

Sheriff Chris Nocco, Clerk of Courts Paula O'Neil, Property Appraiser Mike Wells and Tax Collector Mike Olson all clinched the lead over their challengers in the early and absentee votes.

PENNY FOR PASCO

9 p.m. Voters overwhelming approved a 10-year extension of the Penny for Pasco sales tax hike, with 70 percent voting in favor of the referendum. The revenue will pay for school renovations, road improvements, environmental land acquisitions and economic development incentives, among other things.

7:45 p.m. The campaign to renew the Penny for Pasco sales tax for another decade continues to show strong support. With nearly 72 percent of the precincts in, nearly 70 percent of the votes are in favor of extending the sales tax. The revenue will pay for school renovations, road improvements, environmental land acquisitions and economic development incentives, among other things.

7:15 p.m. The renewal of the Penny for Pasco sales tax has drawn approval from 70 percent of the early and absentee voters.

MOSQUITO CONTROL

9 p.m. Two members of Pasco County's Mosquito Control Board were on track Tuesday night to retain their seats.

With 99 percent of the precincts in, Sandra Applefield had secured a fourth term with nearly 56 percent of the vote. Applefield, 71, who manages real estate, faced challenges for Seat 1 from Winn-Dixie worker Randy Bethencourt and teen court coordinator Shanon "Randy" Holm.

Gary Joiner held a narrow lead in the race for Seat 3. Joiner, 71, a retired environmental specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture, had about 51 percent of the vote. The incumbent faced a challenge from retired bank assistant vice president Vincent "Vinny" Buscetta.

7:50 p.m. Pasco County Mosquito Control board members Sandra Applefield and Gary Joiner are both leading in their respective races.

With 76 percent of the precincts in, Applefield had 56 percent of the votes for Seat 1, staying ahead of challengers Randy Bethencourt and Shanon "Randy" Holm. Joiner stayed ahead of challenger Vincent "Vinny" Buscetta with nearly 52 percent of the votes.

Comments
Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six local candidates across Tampa Bay — all county commissioners and city council members — effectively won their elections Friday by default: No one qualified to run against them.The rest still have a fight.Some will square off in an Aug. 28 primary...
Published: 06/22/18
Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

TAMPA — A Democrat has officially joined the race for Hillsborough County sheriff.Gary Pruitt, a 50-year-old former Tampa police corporal who now works as director of security at a local mall, qualified Friday to challenge Republican Sheriff Chad Chr...
Published: 06/22/18
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18