BROOKSVILLE — In an close race, software consultant Jeff Holcomb was slightly ahead of Realtor Laurie Pizzo in Tuesday's Republican primary for the District 4 seat on the Hernando County Commission.
The winner will face Democrat Dan Oliver and no-party candidate H. David Werder in November.
Holcomb, who had been watching the results throughout the evening, said it was nerve-wracking waiting for the final outcome.
The primary divided loyalties among prominent Republicans, with each candidate touting experience as their advantage. Pizzo far surpassed Holcomb in campaign contributions, raising nearly $51,000 to the nearly $18,000 Holcomb collected.
Holcomb, whose platform focus has been on improving the economy, touted his private-sector work and his time in the military as good experience for the job. He claimed a more conservative point of view than his opponent and was fervent about keeping in check the county's property tax rate.
While he acknowledged that some of the economic indicators were improving, it is not the time for government to begin spending more, he said.
Holcomb said that he believes he will vote for the Penny for Projects sales tax increase in November, which will fund a variety of county and school projects, but was not sure he would have approved tying the two issues together.
Pizzo has had extensive political experience working on a variety of political issues and campaigns at the state and the local levels. She also has participated in numerous community organizations. To her, jumping into the commission race, with incumbent Dave Russell choosing not to seek another term, was simply taking her community involvement to the next level. She said her priorities would be to help businesses come to Hernando and thrive. Pizzo also favored the proposed Penny for Projects sales tax.