BROOKSVILLE — Republican state House incumbent Robert Schenck won his fourth and final term Tuesday by a healthy margin after dramatically outraising his District 35 Democratic challenger, Rose Rocco, and drowning her in a sea of political mail, TV and radio ads.
Schenck brought in $324,648.67 in donations and in-kind contributions. Rocco, a former Hernando County Commissioner, pulled in just under $8,000.
"I am humbled by the support from Hernando County," Schenck said from his home Tuesday night. "I appreciate it. I've just been honored to represent them for 10 years."
Schenck said he will continue to fight big government and new taxes. He will also try and bring new business to Hernando.
His platform consisted of making Florida more business-friendly, diversifying the economic base and continuing to cut government waste. He frequently touted his record of slicing state spending, reforming the state pension system, tackling pill mills and reducing the cost of Medicaid.
Schenck, who will be chairman of the House Rules Committee for the next two years, said Hernando residents will also benefit from his position, where he will be able to get more budgetary items through the House that benefit his constituency.
Meanwhile, Rocco was pleased with her campaign.
"It was always a David versus Goliath kind of thing," she said. "I'm really very happy with the way we ran the race. It was clean. I think we got a lot of support from the people."
Rocco said she believed the fact Schenck didn't beat her by a wider margin said a lot about her grass-roots effort.
"I think that makes a statement," she said.
Rocco's campaign emphasized communication, her participation in local organizations and an agenda that put local issues on the front burner.
Danny Valentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432. Tweet him @HernandoTimes.