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Pasco employees PAC takes no sides in School Board race

Neither District 5 candidate won enough support from the group to gain an endorsement.
Pasco County School Board candidates Megan Harding (left) and Tara O'Connor (right) face off in November.
Published Oct. 5, 2018

Tiger Pride, the United School Employees of Pasco's political action committee, is again declining to support a candidate in the county School Board election.

The group's executive committee recommended one of the two hopefuls seeking to replace retiring Steve Luikart on the board. But neither Megan Harding nor Tara O'Connor won the requisite two-thirds representative council vote to gain an endorsement, USEP president Don Peace said.

Instead, the PAC will share the pros and cons of the two District 5 hopefuls with anyone who asks, and leave it at that.

The PAC did not recommend any School Board candidates in the August primary, either, when District 5 had four people in the race and two other seats were up for grabs. The District 1 and District 3 seats were decided in the primary.

Its inaction comes in a political season where teachers nationwide have chosen to get more active in elections, including running for office. Many educators have stressed the need to get people who understand schools into the positions that set policies for them.

Pasco's District 5 race features one candidate, Harding, who has made a centerpiece of her campaign the fact that she's a classroom teacher. O'Connor is a lawyer with a long history of school and civic volunteer work.

Peace would not comment on the reasons why Tiger Pride did not name its favorite, other than to say some members had concerns with each candidate's platform.

Mail-in ballots have already gone out to voters. Early voting begins Oct. 24. And election day is Nov. 6.

Related coverage: Pasco teachers union won't endorse before primaries