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Champion defeats Burmann in race for District 5 Hernando County Commission

Incumbent is headed for a second term.

BROOKSVILLE —Republican Steve Champion is headed for a second term on the Hernando County Commission in District 5. He defeated opponent Michael Burmann, who was running with no party affiliation.

Champion, 46, is the owner of American Gun and Pawn and Tactical Supply and Surplus. His family has been in Hernando County for five generations. A lifelong member of the National Rifle Association and an outspoken advocate for gun rights, he lists his top three priorities as keeping government small, promoting business, and law and order. He has a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton University.

During his first term on the commission, Champion ruffled feathers with his gun advocacy, was criticized for blocking critics on his Facebook page and was accused of being racist when he backed those who marched in Brooksville to protect the Confederate statue at the Hernando Government Center during a Black Lives Matter rally.

Champion has pointed to his record of opposing tax increases, cutting regulations and trying to shrink government, including selling off surplus county property and pushing to renegotiate to lower the cost of employee contracts. He also has pushed for expanded recreational opportunities.

Burmann, 60, is an Illinois native who came to the area 37 years ago. He is the owner and operator of a home inspection service and attended Northern Illinois University and McHenry County College.

He twice ran unsuccessfully for the commission as a Republican. He said he ran now without party affiliation because there was no Democrat in the race. He wanted to offer voters an option, someone who could work with people on both sides of the political aisle and with those both in the county and the city of Brooksville.

Burmann pointed to his community service, including eight years as a member of the Hernando County Housing Authority, to demonstrate his commitment. Seven of those years, he was chairman. He said he wanted to see the county do more of its business in the open, not behind closed doors. He also wanted the county to reward departments for keeping down spending.

The District 5 seat on the Hernando County Commission encompasses eastern Hernando County. The term is for four years, and the salary is $74,725.

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