Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Hernando Commissioner Rose Rocco enters race for state House seat

Former Hernando County Commissioner Rose Rocco is making another bid for the state House of Representatives.

Rocco, 72, filed Friday to run as a Democrat for the District 35 seat currently held by Republican Rob Schenck, who must leave office because of term limits. The district includes most of Hernando except for the area generally north of State Road 50 and west of the Suncoast Parkway.

Rocco, of Spring Hill, said Democratic Party officials urged her to run months ago but that she had to tend to some personal issues before making a decision. She said the same issues that motivated her to challenge Schenck in 2012 — insurance reform, economic development and the need for more technical education — spurred her this time.

"It's important to have someone to run for the seat who knows the issues and can represent the county as an advocate and not be beholden to any political party," Rocco said.

The move sets up a primary race with David Welch, who filed as a Democrat in October. Welch, 49, is a residential counselor at a mental health center and president of the Hernando chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

A permanent resident of Hernando since 1993, Rocco served one term on the County Commission from 2006 to 2010 and has been active in a variety of community groups. Her 2012 bid was her first for state office. She moved automatically to the general election after no other Democrat filed, and Schenck won handily with more than 55 percent of the vote.

Blaise Ingoglia, a 43-year-old Spring Hill home builder, was the only Republican in the race as of Friday. As chairman of the Hernando Republican Executive Committee and vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Ingoglia will be a formidable opponent in a district that favors a Republican. His latest campaign report shows he has raised nearly $130,000, and he has racked up a stack of endorsements from prominent Republicans throughout the state.

Hernando Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Steve Zeledon said Rocco's entry into the race bodes well for the party.

"Now we've got two solid candidates," Zeledon said.

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

Former Hernando Commissioner Rose Rocco enters race for state House seat 01/03/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 3, 2014 10:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 22: A rejuvenating visit to The House of the Gods (a.k.a. Pilgrim Paradise)


    Day 22: Hospital de Orbigo to Murias de Rechivaldo: 22.3 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-22 = 520 km (323 miles)

  2. Tampa ranks high in most 'livable cities' in U.S.

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Compared to other cities in the United States, living in Tampa isn't too shabby.

    Tampa ranked No. 14 in WalletHub's Best Big Cities to Live in, taking the top spot in Florida. [Courtesy of WalletHub]
  3. Review: 'The Last Tycoon' is a dazzling adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished work


    There's no business like 1930s show business.

    Matt Bomer is Monroe Stahr in Amazon's The Last Tycoon.
  4. 'Chrisley Knows Best' stars filmed in St. Petersburg


    Keep an eye out for reality TV stars. Members of the Chrisley family from the USA series Chrisley Knows Best were filming in St. Petersburg this week, St. Petersburg-Clearwater film commissioner Tony Armer confirmed today. 

    Todd and Savannah Chrisley in a scene from Season 5 of "Chrisley Knows Best."
  5. Deputies say Wesley Chapel man admitted to having child pornography


    WESLEY CHAPEL — A man admitted to possessing child pornography, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office, after authorities seized several computers, tablets, thumb drives, DVDs and cell phones from his property.

    Jeffrey D. Stanford was arrested on 10 counts of possessing child pornography. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]