Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco and Hernando districts are similar; will the results be, too?

Is Democrat Amanda Murphy’s victory in a state House race in Pasco County a harbinger of things to come in Hernando? Only time will tell.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Is Democrat Amanda Murphy’s victory in a state House race in Pasco County a harbinger of things to come in Hernando? Only time will tell.

A moderate Democrat with a modest war chest is matched up against a much better-funded Republican closely tied to the party.

The Democrat seizes on the Republican-led state Legislature's rejection of a decade's worth of Medicaid money — $51 billion in total — as a sign that the opponent's party has truly lost its way.

And kind words from a popular maverick Republican, Pasco County Tax Collector and former state Rep. Mike Fasano, prove to be a big boost among the vast numbers of nonaffiliated voters in a county that hadn't elected a Democratic state lawmaker in roughly two decades.

All that describes the race in Florida House District 36, in western Pasco County, recently won by Democrat Amanda Murphy.

And, who knows, it might also describe next year's election in Hernando's District 35, where Democratic candidate and former Republican David Welch has challenged Republican Blaise Ingoglia, who is not only close to the party, but a big part of it. His jobs as vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and chairman of the party in Hernando helped him raise about $110,000 before Welch even entered the race two weeks ago.

I know. The election is still a long way off. It is impossible to know, for example, whether Welch's backing of Obamacare will turn out well or disastrously. And the timing of the Pasco election, coming at the peak of disgust with Washington Republicans, was ideal.

Murphy's Republican opponent, Bill Gunter, obliged her by saying that rejecting Medicaid money for struggling Floridians was a fine idea. Ingoglia, at least in the statements I've seen (he didn't return a phone call seeking an interview), hasn't said much about it.

And, finally, I should point out an obvious difference in the two districts: Democrats enjoy a slight lead in the number of registered voters in the one in Pasco, while Republicans lead by about 3,000 in the Hernando district.

But the advantages of either party are dwarfed by the number of voters without party affiliation — more than 22,000 in District 35.

The district in Hernando is also a lot less Republican than it was before the 2012 redistricting. Gated communities in northwest Hernando and slices of Sumter and Pasco counties — all bright red — were replaced with a more centrist section of northern Hernando.

And if the two districts are now closer in party affiliation, they are almost identical in other ways: about 90 percent white, average age of 46, large numbers of transplanted, not especially hard-line, New York Republicans.

County Commission Chairman David Russell, the former state representative who introduced Ingoglia's campaign announcement, watched Murphy's race closely because of the similarities, he said. He does not, however, expect the same results.

I'm not so sure, especially because Ingoglia, a homebuilder, is known for things like fueling the speculative real estate market and falling behind on his personal property taxes while Welch is known as an advocate for the mentally ill and lowering the cost of sinkhole coverage.

Which is how he got to know Fasano, who has not endorsed him, as he did Murphy, but has given him his trademark seal of approval.

Welch, he said, "would be a great representative for the little guy and gal."

Pasco and Hernando districts are similar; will the results be, too? 10/29/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 3:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Romano: On this education bill, you decide who is evil

    Politics

    The political ramifications are not lost on Kristine Benson.

    Six-year-old Chase Benson was born with down syndrome and autism. He attends a private school in Palm Harbor through a Gardiner Scholarship. [Photo courtesy of Kris Benson]
  2. St. Petersburg police team with federal agencies to crack down on gun and drug offenders (w/video)

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police say Raymond Adams, 29, jumped a fence to break into a home in the 800 block of 51st Street Avenue S.

    Some of the guns confiscated during an eight month firearms, drug trafficking, and violent crime operation dubbed the St. Petersburg Violent Crime Reduction Initiative were on display Wednesday, 5/24/17 at the St. Petersburg Police Department.  Federal charges have been filed against 35 individuals and state charges have been filled against 9 individuals in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  3. Graco recalls car seats; webbing may not hold child in crash

    Public Safety

    Graco Children's Products is recalling more than 25,000 car seats because the harness webbing can break in a crash and may not keep children restrained.

    Graco has recalled eight different car seat models.
  4. Pro Bowl returning to Orlando in 2018

    Bucs

    ORLANDO — The Pro Bowl will return to Orlando in 2018 for the second straight year.

    Bucs  wide receiver Mike Evans runs a route as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. defends during the first quarter of the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl in January at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Plan your weekend: Memorial Day, Sunset Music Fest, comic Pablo Francisco, sci-fi writer Jeff VanderMeer

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Holiday

    Memorial Day: Monday is the day to honor those who died serving their country, and the Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony will have Fox 13 anchor Alcides Segui as emcee, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and musical performances starting at 10 a.m. at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., St. …

    GULF SHORES, AL - MAY 20:  Diplo of Major Lazer performs at the Surf Stage during 2017 Hangout Music Festival on May 20, 2017 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Hangout Music Festival) 700050769