In early returns, Diane Rowden appeared headed for an easy victory Tuesday night over her two Democratic opponents in her first run for the District 44 seat in the state House.
Rowden would face Republican incumbent Robert Schenck in the November general election. The district includes most of Hernando County and parts of Pasco and Sumter counties.
A two-term Hernando County commissioner who was defeated in 2008, and who also served three years on the Hernando School Board, Rowden, cited her desire to continue her public service as her reason for running. Rowden, 60, currently lives in northwest Hernando County, outside the district. She has vowed to move into the district by the November election.
Jay A. Thompson, a 31-year-old instructor at both Pasco-Hernando Community College and the College of Central Florida, said he sought the seat because he believed it was time for someone to make the hard cost-cutting and revenue raising decisions the state needed.
Perennial candidate H. David Werder, 55, ran for the job when he couldn't raise enough signatures to run again for Congress.