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Olson has no trouble holding on to his job // TAX COLLECTOR

Longtime Democratic tax collector Mike Olson breezed to a fifth term Tuesday, handily defeating his Republican opponent.

"At this point, the lead that I have is something you just don't expect," Olson said from his home Tuesday night. "You can't afford to sit back and rest on your laurels.

"What we're seeing here tonight is the result of a lot of hard work, so we're going to keep right on doing what we're doing."

Political newcomer Keith Sumner of San Antonio had said his chief objection to Olson's tenure was its length: Constitutional offices are not meant to be "lifetime positions," he said.

"I guess that people feel comfortable with him being in there," Sumner said from his parents' home in Dade City. "It looks like the Democrats must have had a pretty good turnout.

"Whenever you give it your best shot, you can't do any better. That's the way I look at life."

Olson, who has been tax collector since 1980, already has outlined some of his plans for the next four years. He wants to open at least two new branch offices, one in Zephyrhills and another in northwest Pasco County, possibly Hudson or Bayonet Point.

Other projects include bar code scanners to process motor vehicle registration renewals, a new personnel manual for the office's 90-plus employees and a possible system to accept payments by credit card.

Sumner, 42, ran what he called a grass-roots campaign, walking voter districts throughout the county with his wife, Sharon, and their two teenage children.

His background is as a consulting accountant and real estate broker with his own business, Sumner & Associates Realty. He also is well-known as a youth sports coach, having led the Dade City Little League team to a state championship in 1992.

Olson, 51, and his wife, Mary, have two adult daughters and are raising two grandchildren, ages 7 and 11, at their home in New Port Richey.

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