Thursday, August 16, 2018
Politics

Youth schools experience in Pasco race for Florida House District 36

Republican Amber Mariano had a good excuse for cutting her classes at the University of Central Florida Tuesday — she was winning a seat in the Florida House of Representatives.

Mariano, the 21-year-old daughter of Pasco Commissioner Jack Mariano, stunned popular Democrat Rep. Amanda Murphy of New Port Richey in Florida House District 36. The margin was 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent — or a 719-vote victory out of 66,939 ballots cast — according to final but unofficial results.

Amber Mariano, of Hudson, said she was up late Monday night, but didn't have a lot of time for last-minute campaigning. She had a paper to finish and an exam to take and then e-mailed both to her professors at UCF where she is a third-year political science student. Tuesday, she cut her four classes, hit several precincts to greet voters and rode the coattails of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to victory. Trump carried Pasco with 58 percent of the vote in a heavy Republican turnout.

"I think Trump really helped me out,'' she said earlier in the day as voters told her they voted for both her and the Republican presidential nominee.

Mariano, who initially filed to run for an Orlando-based House seat, but switched at the filing deadline in June, focused her campaign on higher education and on west Pasco's flooding problems. Her campaign literature was aimed directly at the GOP's base support and featured endorsements from Gov. Rick Scott, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and her own support for Trump's candidacy.

Murphy, 46, enjoyed broad support across party lines and her own campaign touted the endorsement of Republican Pasco Tax Collector Mike Fasano, Murphy's predecessor in the state House District 36 seat. He recorded four automated telephone calls on her behalf urging non-partisan voters to support Murphy's candidacy.

"We had known when we started it could be the perfect storm,'' Murphy said after the results became final. "She now will be the youngest House member and that's kind of cool for Pasco.''

Comments
In Republican race for Pinellas County Commission seat, Rep. Kathleen Peters outpacing field

In Republican race for Pinellas County Commission seat, Rep. Kathleen Peters outpacing field

As the Aug. 28 primary election approaches, three Republicans are battling to represent a Pinellas County Commission district that hasn’t witnessed a competitive contest for more than 15 years.State Reps. Larry Ahern of Seminole and Kathleen Peters o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Romano: Con artist or Florida politician? You decide

Romano: Con artist or Florida politician? You decide

Decorum matters, and so the attorney’s language was appropriately measured.In seeking to have a constitutional amendment thrown off the ballot, a motion filed in Leon County used words such as "misleading’’ and "ambiguity’’ and "wordsmithing.’’That’s...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Veteran Hernando politicians take oversized contributions, run afoul of campaign finance laws

Veteran Hernando politicians take oversized contributions, run afoul of campaign finance laws

BROOKSVILLE — With primary Election Day at the doorstep, two Republican candidates vying for seats on the Hernando County Commission found themselves in uncomfortable spots over potential filings with the Florida Commission on Ethics.And a third Repu...
Published: 08/15/18
Q&A: A Watergate trickster talks dirty politics, then and now

Q&A: A Watergate trickster talks dirty politics, then and now

CLEARWATERNearly half a century ago, Martin Kelly made the mistake of his life.He was a senior at the University of Miami when he decided to take part in what would become one of the most infamous political scandals in U.S. history: Watergate. He was...
Published: 08/15/18

Pasco Political Notebook for Aug. 17

Republican Club hosts candidate forum at meetingThe West Pasco Republican Club will host an "Election Extravaganza" candidate forum at its meeting Aug. 21 at Heritage Springs Country Club, 11345 Robert Trent Jones Parkway, Trinity. A social time will...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/15/18
Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting Pasco County begins Saturday and runs through Aug. 25, with 11 locations across the county for voters.Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 20-24, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug...
Published: 08/13/18
Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

LARGO — There will be no suspense in the city when elections arrive Nov. 6. In fact, there will be no election at all, because all four city commissioners whose seats were up were re-elected by default when no one came forward by the end of the candi...
Published: 08/13/18
Florida candidate tried to prove she’s a college graduate. The school says her diploma is fake.

Florida candidate tried to prove she’s a college graduate. The school says her diploma is fake.

The political kerfuffle around Melissa Howard began when a news site reported that the Florida state House hopeful is not a college graduate, as she claims to be. To prove the story wrong, Howard, R, reportedly flew to her proclaimed alma mater, Ohio...
Published: 08/12/18
Romano: Two years later, politicians still ignoring Florida voters on medical marijuana

Romano: Two years later, politicians still ignoring Florida voters on medical marijuana

The war is over, except no one in Tallahassee has bothered to read the news.And so Florida continues its daft fight against medical marijuana. All of which means patients are being left behind, voters are getting ignored, and lawyers are buying fanci...
Published: 08/11/18
Hillsborough, tops in state for drug-addicted babies, will file suit against opioid makers

Hillsborough, tops in state for drug-addicted babies, will file suit against opioid makers

TAMPA — Hillsborough County plans to file a lawsuit next week against companies that manufacture opioid drugs, alleging that aggressive marketing of painkillers worsened the opioid crisis.The county joins a number of other local governments nationwid...
Published: 08/10/18