Make us your home page

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 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

  1. Drinking alcohol on St. Pete Beach beaches now allowed — for hotel guests only

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Guests at gulf-front hotels here can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas.

    Guests relax on the beach near the Don Cesar at St. Pete Beach. Guests at gulf-front hotels in St. Pete Beach can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas after the change was passed unanimously by the City Commission Tuesday night. Residents and other beachgoers who are not registered guests of the hotels continue to be barred from imbibing anywhere on the city's beaches.
  2. Man found floating in 'Cotee River in New Port Richey

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A body was found floating in the Pithlachascotee River on Tuesday morning, police said.

  3. More than 13,000 fact-checks later, PolitiFact celebrates 10-year mark


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Adair still remembers the moment when he realized his idea to fact-check politicians could turn into something big.

    (from left to right) Aaron Sharockman, Politifact executive director introduces a panel featuring Angie Holan, Politifact editor; PolitiFact founder Bill Adair and Tampa Bay Times Editor and Vice President Neil Brown at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event celebrated 10 years of PolitiFact and its growth since 2007. The panel discussed the history of the organization and how it goes about fact-checking. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
  4. Trump, McConnell feud threatens GOP agenda


    The relationship between President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.

    Sen. Mitch McConnell has fumed over Trump’s criticism.
  5. Baker lowers expectations for primary


    Rick Baker officially lowered expectations Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday