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Democrats drub GOP challengers // COUNTY COMMISSION

Published Jul. 6, 2006

It doesn't look like the Pasco County Commission will be going all Republican just yet.

The board's two Democrats, Sylvia Young and David "Hap" Clark, held strong leads over GOP challengers Tuesday night, with most precincts counted.

In District 1, Young, a 16-year commission veteran, seemed headed for victory over challenger Ted Schrader, a businessman and member of a prominent east Pasco family.

In the District 5 race, Clark appeared headed to an easy victory over challenger James Hollingsworth, 66, a former commissioner whom he beat handily in 1992.

Young, 58, wasn't ready to acknowledge victory late in the evening.

But as late results showed her far ahead of Schrader, she said: "I really like what I see. I really do. I'll tell you, I think the people did it for me. I won't be disappointed if things stay like they are."

Clark, 74, who has served four years on the board, could not be reached for comment.

Hollingsworth credited Clark's fund raising as the key factor in the campaign.

"Well, what you need to do is count up what he spent per vote and what I spent and you'll see that I was well outspent," Hollingsworth said. "He also benefited from being on the winning ticket nationally. That's about the whole story."

Schrader could not be reached for comment.

Both incumbents ran campaigns that touted their work to protect Pasco's water resources from well field overpumping, an issue that has dominated commission politics the past two years.

Young was especially aggressive attacking the issue, criticizing Schrader for participating in the sale of a 12,000-acre tract of east Pasco land to Pinellas County for a well field. Schrader, as a real estate agent, arranged the sale between the prominent Barthle family and Pinellas.

Young's advertising was wrong on one point. Though the land was indeed sold to Pinellas, it has never been used for a well field.

Schrader said the land was first offered to Pasco in 1991. But he said the county rebuffed him.

Hollingsworth didn't push the water issue during his District 5 campaign, instead drawing attention to Clark's laid back style of leadership. He derisively accused Clark of sleeping during meetings.

Clark, who has never been the commission's most outspoken member, countered talk that he was too uninvolved in county government by saying his quiet personality helped unite a once-feuding board.

Both Clark and Hollingsworth pushed their education backgrounds. Clark worked for two decades as a teacher and administrator in Pasco schools, and Hollingsworth has taught government classes at Pasco-Hernando Community College for more than 20 years.

Clark is the former owner of Clark's Landing restaurant, which he closed last year in order to lease the property to the owners of a casino gambling ship.

The loss for Hollingsworth is the third for him in a county race since he ended his one term on the commission in 1984. He also has lost bids for property appraiser and superintendent of schools.

Schrader, 40, was highly critical of Young. He accused her of being too dependent on county staff in her decision-making and of being inaccessible to constituents.

Young, 58, the longest-serving commissioner on the board, touted her constituent service and said she is always available to those with questions about Pasco government.

Schrader offered Young one of the most formidable challenges the incumbent has faced in the past decade and raised far more money.

Young, however, did not face a primary opponent. Schrader faced two and spent much of his money before November.


(97 percent of precincts counted)


District 46

Debra Prewitt (D) 28559 57%

Alan Levine (R) 21080 43%

District 45

Michael Fasano (R) 22288 51%

Brian Prescott (D) 21218 49%


District 1

Ted Schrader (R) 52322 44%

Sylvia Young (D) 65813 56%

District 5

David "Hap' Clark (D) 62113 53%

James Hollingsworth (R) 54404 47%


Lee Cannon (D) 83689 69%

James E. (Jim) Gillum (R) 38110 31%


District 4

Pam Coulter (D) 75461 64%

Elizabeth Drop (R) 41825 36%


Mike Olsen (D) 88688 73%

Keith Summer (R) 33089 27%

(For vote totals in other races, see sections A and B.)