BROOKSVILLE — Gus Guadagnino will become the newest member of the Hernando County School Board after sweeping aside opponent Robert Neuhausen in Tuesday's nonpartisan District 4 runoff.
Guadagnino, a semiretired business owner and longtime Hernando County resident, pulled in a double-digit victory, mirroring his large margin in the primary election.
"I'm relieved that I don't have to go out and wave signs tomorrow," he said Tuesday night. "I feel like I've accomplished something that I've been wanting to do for quite a long time."
In the coming weeks, he said, he plans to meet with superintendent Bryan Blavatt to get up to speed. Most immediately, however, he said he is working on a project to send aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Guadagnino previously had finished first among four candidates on the Aug. 14 primary ballot, pulling in more than 7,500 votes, though he failed to get the required 50 percent. Neuhausen, who came in second in the primary, received more than 4,700 votes.
The two candidates seemingly had a lot in common. But there were plenty of differences when you drilled down.
On choosing the next superintendent, one of the most important issues facing the School Board with Blavatt retiring, Guadagnino said qualifications are more important than whether the candidate is internal.
He also said he believes the superintendent should continue to be appointed, rather than elected.
Guadagnino believes the biggest problems facing schools come from outside the county and pledged to lobby legislators in Tallahassee to improve funding for education. He said he would also push for the district to collaborate more closely with local businesses.
Neuhausen, a purchasing manager and export control manager, emphasized the fact that he was a parent with three children in the Hernando school system.
Guadagnino will fill the seat now held by James Yant, who decided not to run for re-election.