BROOKSVILLE — Incumbent Matt Foreman cruised to victory Tuesday in the District 2 Hernando County School Board election while Gus Guadagnino and Robert Neuhausen received the most votes in District 4 and will now square off in November.
Foreman, a lawyer appointed to the School Board in September 2011, won his first election ever, defeating William Kingeter with roughly 75 percent of the vote.
"I'm humbled by the support I received in our community," Foreman said.
Foreman raised far more money for his campaign than Kingeter, spending more than $13,000, compared with about $2,500 for Kingeter, a retired New Jersey deputy fire chief.
Even as an incumbent and with a sizable money advantage, Foreman didn't relax Tuesday. When he found out that he had a nearly 3-to-1 margin with all precincts counted, his first question was: "Do you know if they've counted the absentees yet?"
Part of Kingeter's struggles might have been beyond his control.
Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams mistakenly told him that he would be competing on the November ballot. He didn't learn that his nonpartisan race would be on Tuesday's primary ballot until a few weeks ago.
"This news comes as a total shocking surprise and sure puts an obstacle in front of an already difficult campaign," he told the Tampa Bay Times.
Guadagnino secured roughly 40 percent of the District 4 votes, with Neuhausen coming in second with about 25 percent. They will advance to a runoff on the Nov. 6 ballot. With no incumbent in the District 4 seat, the race is wide open.
"It's like three more months of stress," Neuhausen said after learning about the results during Tuesday night's School Board meeting.
He said he was happy to move on, but acknowledged that he will have a tough slog ahead of him.
"My concern ... is Gus is going to bury us with signs," he said. "People who vote in general elections vote name recognition."
Helen Villafane and Michael Gordon were eliminated. Villafane, in perhaps the biggest surprise in the two School Board races, got more than 21 percent of the vote after raising little money and conducting a low-key campaign.
Guadagnino is a semi-retired owner of two companies and raised the most money of the four candidates in the race. Neuhausen came in second in contributions.