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Hoskins-Lanterman heads for win in Republican race // HERNANDO ELECTIONS SUPERVISOR

Michael Hoskins-Lanterman appeared to have clinched the Republican nomination Tuesday night in the race for Hernando County supervisor of elections.

Hoskins-Lanterman, the county's audit services director, led Jerry Theilen comfortably throughout the vote tallying. The primary election winner meets incumbent Ann Mau, the only Democrat in the race, in the Nov. 5 general election.

Hoskins-Lanterman, 43, could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. The Times learned earlier in the day that he is on medical leave after receiving a reprimand from his supervisor, Clerk of Circuit Court Karen Nicolai, who accused him of poor management and insubordination.

His success in the primary was perhaps not surprising, given his position and experience working with county government. He has been the county's audit services director, the department charged with monitoring the county's departments, since 1991.

Also, he worked as an auditor in the private sector for eight years.

Theilen, who called himself a "dark horse" candidate and an "underdog," primarily relied on his working-man image to garner votes.

Theilen, 39, works as an inventory control manager at Sumter Correctional Institution near Bushnell. He recently pointed out errors in the way Mau calculated fines for him and three other candidates who were overcharged after they turned in their campaign treasurers' reports late.

Hoskins-Lanterman promised to do something about such errors, calling for an immediate internal audit to help improve efficiency and organization if he is elected.

Hoskins-Lanterman also has proposed to speed up election returns by phasing out the county's punch-card voting system and replacing it with an electronic one.