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CITRUS ELECTIONS SUPERVISOR // Gill takes charge with early lead over Smerecki

Republican Susan Gill leapt ahead of opponent Casimer Smerecki on Tuesday night in the race for Citrus County supervisor of elections.

As Gill sat in her office on Main Street in Inverness surrounded by family and friends, she beamed as she discussed a commanding lead in precincts on the county's east side. "I'm just kind of taking it as it comes," she said of the early returns. "It's not over yet. What I'm really concerned about is the low turnout."

The winner will face Democrat Sybil Barco, who has been assistant supervisor of elections for 10 years, in the general election on Nov. 5. The race is significant because it is the first step in replacing longtime Democrat supervisor Wilma Anderson.

The Republican primary race has, in some ways, been more a race of experience than ideas, with both candidates promising a careful study of personnel, efficiency and the division of precincts.

Gill, 47, said she is the better candidate for her community involvement and leadership. She has spent a decade as a real estate broker at Gill Auctioneers, a company she owns with her husband.

Smerecki, 57, declared his candidacy in March 1995 and was the first to sign up for a spot on the ballot.

He touted his background of 25 years in law enforcement with a specialty in forensics and identification.