Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Incumbent Republicans win three Pasco County Commission races

Three County Commissioners held onto their seats Tuesday, retaining Republicans' dominance of the board.

Voters gave GOP commissioners Ann Hildebrand and Jack Mariano solid wins over Democrats Terri Conroy and Ginny Miller, respectively.

Commissioner Ted Schrader, 52, a Republican from San Antonio, was re-elected for a third term without opposition for the District 1 seat from east Pasco. The write-in candidate who appeared on the ballot had dropped out of the race in September.

With their wins, Republicans keep four of the five seats on the board, despite heavy early voting this year by Democrats.

"I think the board functions very well. We're accomplishing a lot of good things," said Mariano, who won his second term. "We're doing a lot of good things watching over the taxpayers' money."

The Mariano-Miller campaign was expected to be competitive, but Hildebrand's contest turned unexpectedly close with heavy voter turnout.

"I always knew all along this was not going to be cake walk," Hildebrand, who was seeking term No. 7.

Mariano squeaked out a win to unseat Democrat Peter Altman four years earlier from the northwest coastal Pasco district. Mariano's opponent this year was also familiar to the public: Miller was elected five times to the New Port Richey City Council.

Although Mariano raised $106,000 to Miller's $34,000, the Florida Democratic Party reduced the gap with a final-week mailing attacking Mariano's record. Campaign reports say the party spent $34,000 on it.

Mariano, 48, a former car salesman, campaigned on a populist approach, promoting his work to improve utility service, improve tourism and reducing spending after being forced to cut taxes.

However, Miller, 49, a teacher, seized on less rosy aspects of Mariano's first term. He used taxpayer money to travel far more than any other board member. His opposition to a Hudson development lead the county into a losing lawsuit.

In Hildebrand's race, Conroy, a former permitting manager for a home builder, couldn't match the fundraising and name recognition of Hildebrand, who has represented southwest Pasco for 24 years.

"I think in these times, they recognize that you need to have that stability and that experience," Hildebrand said of voters.

Hildebrand, 70, of New Port Richey, raised nearly $129,000, allowing her to advertise and send mailings to 1,000 absentee voters a day in October.

She focused on her six terms of experience, a record that she said gave her the best perspective as the county faces decisions on growth management and spending.

Conroy, 49, a New Port Richey mother of two running her first race, raised only $8,500. She had little means to persuade voters that Hildebrand was out of touch.

Just as in the August primary, Hildebrand escaped damage from being a "double dipper" — taking advantage of a loophole that allowed her to receive a salary and a pension for the same job. In one flier, Conroy even called her a triple dipper for accepting Social Security, too.

David DeCamp can be reached at ddecamp@sptimes.com or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6232.

Incumbent Republicans win three Pasco County Commission races 11/04/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 7, 2008 12:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.