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Spivey in close re-election race // STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 43

Incumbent state Rep. Helen Spivey and Republican challenger Nancy Argenziano were running neck-and-neck Tuesday night in their fight to represent District 43 in Florida's House of Representatives.

District 43 includes all of Citrus County, part of northwest Hernando County and the Dunnellon section of Marion County. The race was too close to call at 10:30 p.m.

While in Tallahassee, Spivey, a 68-year-old Democrat, has pushed through a law that further protects patients in surgical recovery rooms. Spivey also has supported prison inmates serving at least 85 percent of their sentences, and measures that give teachers more power to remove troublemakers.

Spivey is an ardent environmentalist and has spent years fighting to protect water resources and the endangered manatee, among other causes.

She does not want the Suncoast Parkway to extend through Citrus, saying mass transportation is a better alternative to explore; she fights to protect the elderly and children; and she touts an aging-in-place philosophy that would allow nursing home residents greater freedoms.

Argenziano, 41, said the incumbent is ineffective and accessible only to those who share her views. The Republican challenger said she would be better at building consensus and at representing all views.

Argenziano, herself a conservationist, supports strict protection of water resources and a local-sources-first policy for thirsty southern counties.

This race, like some others, has been marred by negative campaigning. The state Democratic Party issued two fliers accusing Argenziano of padding her resume, breaking state election law and polluting the environment with campaign signs; the Republicans have accused Spivey of being soft on crime and, generally, too liberal to represent the district.