Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Politics

Fasano, Corcoran cruise to wins in state House races in Pasco County

State Sen. Mike Fasano is poised to rejoin his former colleagues in the Florida House of Representatives, including close friend state Rep. Richard Corcoran, who also cruised to victory Tuesday night.

Fasano, who competed in a three-way GOP primary against former Port Richey city attorney James Matthieu and Hudson electrician Michael D. Kennedy, captured 83 percent of the vote in the House District 36 race, according to unofficial returns. Mathieu and Kennedy trailed with 10 and 7 percent respectively.

Corcoran, R-Trinity, faced political rookie Strother Hammond in Tuesday's closed primary for House District 37. He defeated Hammond 83 to 17 percent.

Fasano and Corcoran face only token opposition from write-in candidates in November.

An 18-year veteran of the Legislature, Fasano served stints in both the Florida House and the Senate until he was forced out of each chamber by term limits. Now returning to the House, Fasano, 54, said his priorities are creating jobs and making homeowners insurance affordable.

He credited his staff, "the best in the state if not the nation," and 18 years of "putting the people of Pasco County first and not following the leadership in Tallahassee to follow them but to do what's right."

Corcoran will represent a redrawn District 37, which covers the area east of U.S. 41, from Little Road to central Pasco. Fasano's district covers a swath of west Pasco from Holiday to Hudson that begins at the coast and extends east of U.S. 19.

Though Corcoran, 47, has served just one term in the Florida House, he already has solid political backing. He is endorsed by Fasano, and he was chosen by fellow Republicans as speaker of the House for 2017-18, if Republicans maintain a majority.

Corcoran said his priorities if re-elected were to promote economic growth, address problems with health care coverage and improve education.

When asked which committee within the House he hoped to chair if elected to his second term, Corcoran's first choice was appropriations. He said he would also like to work in finance and taxes, and he would be pleased working with the judiciary or in health care.

Corcoran said he plans to work on "changing the culture" and making the Legislature more accountable to the public.

Corcoran recalled one day a quarter of a century ago when he and Fasano were both officers in the local Republican Club. They were in the state House gallery leading a group of senior citizens on a tour.

"Mike said 'One day you and I will both sit in those chairs together,' " he said. "It's going to be an exciting time for Pasco."

Staff writer Mary Kenney contributed to this report.

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