Monday, December 18, 2017
Politics

Florida Senate district for Hernando, north and west Pasco to remain intact

It's official: The state Senate district stretching from west Pasco to Sumter County will remain intact. The Florida Supreme Court on Friday upheld a new redistricting map for 40 redrawn Senate seats.

The ruling represents a starting gun for what has been a slow-developing race between Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey, and east Pasco businessman and egg farmer Wilton Simpson.

"We know the rules of the game now, we know the territory," Simpson said. "It's time to get to work."

District 18, which includes north and west Pasco and all of Hernando, hasn't changed since it was first proposed in December. But the Senate map has taken several legal twists and turns.

The state Supreme Court in March threw out the Legislature's map but also discarded a challenge to the adjacent South Pasco and Carrollwood district held by Sen. Jim Norman of Tampa. Changes to that seat almost certainly would have affected the Legg-Simpson district.

The uncertainty caused candidates and political watchers alike to hold off. There's little reason to criticize your opponent if the district lines suddenly shift and he ends up running for a different seat.

"Some people were hoping and praying, if you will, that the lines would be different," said Sen. Mike Fasano, who is leaving his seat due to term limits and supports Legg as his successor. "But that won't be the case."

Barring the unexpected, the race between two well-funded and well-connected candidates should get exciting.

"We'll have to sit down and look at the map lines and start executing the campaign plan on Monday," Legg said. With a district that starts in Holiday and stops just short of the Villages, he said, "that's a lot of miles that are going to be on the campaign trail."

Each candidate brings a different set of strengths.

Legg's state House district that he has held for eight years is wholly contained in the new Senate district. He can also rely on the network of Fasano, who has represented coastal Pasco and Hernando for the past decade.

Even though the sprawling Senate district covers portions of three counties, a big chunk of the residents live near the coast.

"There's no question that west Pasco will have great input as to who the Republican nominee will be," Fasano said.

Simpson is stronger in rural and agricultural areas and has support from key Hernando figures like retired U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Brooksville, and her successor, Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Spring Hill. He also picked up the endorsement this week of Sumter Sheriff Bill Farmer.

Simpson also has the financial edge through the first three months of the year, raising $220,000 to Legg's $147,000.

Lee Logan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6236.

Comments
National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

WASHINGTON — A new U.S. national security strategy plan presents China and Russia as competitors that want to realign global power in their interests, potentially threatening the United States, Trump administration officials said Sunday.President Don...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia inquiry that has shadowed the White House for much of his ...
Published: 12/17/17
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Published: 12/16/17
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Published: 12/16/17
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Published: 12/16/17
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17