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Mau takes a comfortable lead in race // SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS

The race for Hernando County supervisor of elections took more twists and turns than a roller-coaster ride. Tuesday, it came to a screeching halt.

Incumbent supervisor Ann Mau appeared headed for a second four-year term in the constitutional office.

Early results showed the Democrat with a comfortable lead over Jerry Theilen, a Republican from Spring Hill with no political experience.

Mau, 58, said it will be back to "business as usual," but first she and her staff plan to take a breather.

"We're going to take a little time off and rest," she said. "Everybody here has worked like demons."

Theilen, 39, who spent the better part of Tuesday posting campaign signs and dealing with "jittery nerves," said he may run again for office.

"I'm not going to fade away," said Theilen, a supervisor at the Sumter Correctional Institution near Bushnell. "All the best to (Mau). Just keep in mind, I'll probably be back in 2000."

Theilen said he had no regrets and made no apologies for his relentless pursuit of the supervisor's post.

The Republican Executive Committee placed Theilen's name on the ballot to replace GOP primary election winner Michael Hoskins-Lanterman, who withdrew from the race in September.

Theilen then launched a series of personal and professional criticisms against Mau.

Mau ran a campaign based solely on her experience. She vowed to balance voter needs with fiscal responsibility, upgrade the county's voting process and broaden the scope of voter registration.

The primary function of the $68,622-a-year-post is to administer elections and register voters. Mau oversees nine full- and part-time employees and operates on an annual budget of $679,930.