Businessman Ted Schrader handily won the Republican primary for the Pasco County Commission's District 1 seat Tuesday night, advancing to meet incumbent Democrat Sylvia Young in November's general election.
Schrader, who has served three terms on the San Antonio City Commission, defeated Zephyrhills High School teacher Bob Hatfield and Dade City businesswoman Judy Hinson Dutrow.
Schrader said he was happy to avoid a runoff, which races with three or more candidates often bring.
"Fantastic," Schrader said from a victory party. "I really hoped we'd win by a wide margin. We laid a good groundwork and we think we did all the right things. It was a nice, clean campaign."
He said he would delay thoughts of the campaign against Young for some time yet. "We need to enjoy this one first," he said.
Dutrow, who placed a distant third in the race, pinned her loss to Schrader's large campaign war chest. The Republican has raised more than $20,000. Dutrow, by comparison, spent $10,000 of her own money on the campaign.
"He put a lot of money into it," Dutrow said, "and it obviously paid off."
Hatfield could not immediately be reached for comment.
Schrader's Pasco County roots date back four to five generations, and he is active in the family's citrus and cattle business. The 40-year-old also co-owns a real estate company.
His victory sets up an interesting match with Young, who has held a virtual lock on the job for the past 16 years.
Schrader has offered hard criticism of the incumbent and said Young should step down because she has not accomplished the goals she brought to the commission.
Young, meanwhile, has criticized Schrader for participating in the sale of some east Pasco land to regional water regulators for the possible development of future water wells.
Schrader doesn't have the countywide name recognition of Young. But so far this campaign, he has raised more money than the incumbent.