As an eight-year veteran of the state Senate, Democratic incumbent Karen Thurman of Dunnellon says there is no better campaign tool than her record as the District 4 representative. As a Republican in his first race for public office, challenger Tom Hogan says Thurman's record also is his best campaign tool.
Hogan, a 36-year-old Brooksville lawyer, has taken numerous shots at Thurman's voting record since the primary in September, when he won the right to challenge her by defeating fellow Republican Merl Conine.
When oil prices began to rise, Hogan denounced Thurman's voting record on oil issues and her acceptance of campaign money from oil companies. When State Attorney Willie Meggs began looking into legislators' travel records earlier this year, Hogan slammed Thurman for accepting trips from lobbyists.
If elected, Hogan says, he will push for legislation outlawing the acceptance of any gifts by members of the Legislature.
On other issues, as a former state prosecutor, Hogan also is pushing for harsher sentences for repeat offenders. And he advocates legislative action to ensure long-term health care for the elderly.
Thurman, 39, says her experience in the Senate _ and as mayor and City Council member in Dunnellon _ has taught her how best to represent her constituents.
She says she has the record to prove it, and for every allegation made by Hogan against her record, she has presented evidence to the contrary.
Indeed, during her two terms in the Senate, Thurman has co-sponsored legislation to ban gifts and honoraria and has sought to strengthen laws on campaign financing and financial disclosure.
She has voted consistently against higher taxes and co-wrote legislation to toughen sentencing for repeat drug offenders and violators of the state's Crimes Against the Elderly Act.
_ ROBERT KEEFE
State Senate District 4 includes all of Citrus County and parts of Hernando, Pasco and Marion counties. Senators serve four-year terms and are paid $22,560 a year.
KAREN THURMAN, 39, is a two-term senator from Dunnellon. Before she was elected to the state Senate in 1982, she served two terms as mayor of Dunnellon and seven years on the Dunnellon City Council. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida and worked nine years as a math teacher at Dunnellon Middle School. She is married and has two children. ASSETS: 50 percent ownership in a Dunnellon house, a second home in Tallahassee, 50 percent ownership in some Marion County real estate. LIABILITIES: Two home loans, two personal loans. INCOME: State senator's salary.
TOM HOGAN, 36, is a Brooksville lawyer and a former prosecutor in the 5th and 6th judicial circuits. He has a political science degree from the University of Florida and a law degree from Cumberland Law School in Birmingham, Ala. He is divorced and has two children.ASSETS: 50 percent ownership in a law firm and the firm's Brooksville office building, stock, savings accounts. LIABILITIES: Business loan, auto loan, personal loan. INCOME: Legal fees, interest on a business loan, income from the state attorney's office, which he earned as a prosecutor during part of 1989.