Political newcomer Alan Levine cruised to an easy victory Tuesday night over Joan Kelley in the race for the Republican nomination for state House in District 46.
He will take on incumbent Democrat Debra Prewitt and write-in hopeful Frank Janczlik in the general election Nov. 5.
"To be the nominee for the party is an awesome responsibility and an honor I am very proud of," said Levine, vice president of operations at Columbia Regional Medical Center at Bayonet Point. "I congratulate Joan Kelley. She ran a very spirited campaign."
Levine, a 29-year-old political newcomer who filed for the race almost a year ago, raised more than $65,000 in campaign funds. That was more than 20 times the amount raised by the 62-year-old Kelley, who filed to run a little more than a month ago.
Kelley was not ready to admit defeat before all the votes were tallied, though Levine enjoyed a strong lead at 9 p.m. But she said she would support Levine in the general election.
"We'll work things out," she said. "I just hope Alan will vote along with his constituents."
Kelley, however, was the apparent winner in the race for state committeewoman against Ruth Kavli. Kelley, who was elected to the position four years ago, could run for both seats because committeewoman is a volunteer post.
"I want to congratulate Joan on her election to state committeewoman," Levine said. "She's a hard worker, and she'll serve the county well."
Levine said he looks forward to campaigning against Prewitt.
"People in the general election will have an opportunity to compare Debra's track record with my ideas on education, juvenile crime, health care and a whole bunch of other issues very important to Pasco County," he said. "I had Democrats going into the polls today saying they couldn't vote for me today but they will in the general election."