Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sen. Mike Fasano says he'd consider running for Pasco sheriff

NEW PORT RICHEY — More than a decade ago, Sen. Mike Fasano helped Bob White get elected as Pasco County sheriff. On Wednesday, hours after White announced his resignation in the middle of his third term, Fasano said this of the coveted vacancy: "I'm sure we'll see everybody and their brother coming out of the woodwork to run for sheriff."

On Thursday, Fasano stepped out himself.

He told the Times he might run for the position after his term ends in 2012.

"I'm always interested in serving the people of Pasco County," said Fasano, 52, R-New Port Richey.

"I definitely would consider it," he said, "and I'll leave it at that."

White said he will leave April 30 to spend more time with his 18-month-old granddaughter.

But he isn't doing much to tamp down speculation that the real reason he's retiring is to take a job in Gov. Rick Scott's administration.

He was at the Capitol on Thursday when he ran into a Times reporter.

White said he was in Tallahassee for meetings related to his roles on Scott's transition team and with the Florida Sheriffs Association. He said he isn't angling for any job with Scott and that the governor has not asked him about filling any posts, either.

"What part of that little word 'no' don't you people understand?" White said.

But he still declined to rule it out.

Scott will appoint White's successor, who will serve until the 2012 election. Amy Graham, deputy press secretary for Scott's administration, said no applications for the position had been filed by late Thursday afternoon.

A leading candidate for the interim post is Pasco Sheriff's Maj. Chris Nocco, 35, a former chief of staff at the Florida Highway Patrol and aide to then-House Speaker Marco Rubio. Nocco on Thursday would not say whether he plans to file an application for the appointment. He said he needs to talk with his wife and the other members of White's command staff.

"We have to stay together" as a unit, Nocco said of the top administrators. "Many people are thinking about it, but it's a big responsibility."

Nocco is from Philadelphia and his father is a retired city police captain. Nocco said it was his boyhood dream to work in law enforcement and got his degree in criminal justice at the University of Delaware, where he attended on a football scholarship. His master's degree is in public administration. Nocco met his wife, Bridget, while working for the Fairfax County Police Department in Virginia. Bridget, who grew up in Florida, is a longtime political operative and has been a fundraiser for many Republican candidates, including Scott. The couple have three young children.

Nocco said he came to the Pasco Sheriff's Office in 2009 because his job at the FHP was administrative and he wanted to be a sworn officer again.

"It was an honor when Sheriff White asked me to come serve," he said.

He said he is sad to see White go, although he supports his decision.

"Sheriff White is the real deal," Nocco said. "He is a good man. His heart is in the right place."

White's early leave gives the person who serves the remaining term an edge in the 2012 elections. But the interim sheriff could decline to run. That would open the door for Fasano, whose name has also been mentioned as a candidate for Congress or even for a state House seat.

Asked about the possibility of Fasano running, Republican state committeeman Bill Bunting quipped: "He's probably never had a handgun in his hand. What's he going to use, a water pistol?"

Bunting's personal differences with Fasano have been well-documented. Even putting those aside, Bunting said, average citizens might question Fasano's credentials.

"Usually you've got to have some sort of law enforcement background to run for sheriff," he said.

Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau Chief Steve Bousquet and Times staff writer Jodie Tillman contributed to this report. Erin Sullivan can be reached at (727) 869-6229 or

Sen. Mike Fasano says he'd consider running for Pasco sheriff 03/17/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 8:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bill Clinton coming to Miami Beach on Saturday for mayors' convention


    From our friends at the Miami Herald:

    Former President Bill Clinton gives the opening address to kick off a meeting of International Aid Groups at the InterAction Forum 2017 at the Washington Convention Center on June 20.
  2. Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault


    WASHINGTON — Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried "eyes only" instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. [Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]
  3. GOP's challenge: Finding votes for Senate health care bill (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally unwrapped his plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law. Now comes his next challenge — persuading enough Republicans to back the measure and avert a defeat that could be shattering for President Donald Trump and the GOP.

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol after Republicans released their long-awaited bill to scuttle much of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017. He is one of four GOP senators to say they are opposed it but are open to negotiations, which could put the measure in immediate jeopardy. [Associated Press]
  4. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy


    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.