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    Pinellas pushes GOP's Anderson toward a win

    By MATTHEW WAITE, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 11, 2002

    Tom Anderson appeared to have won the Republican primary for House of Representatives District 45 in a close race divided between Pasco and Pinellas counties.

    Anderson was pulling away from Pasco resident John Legg as more Pinellas votes came in late Tuesday night. Legg won Pasco County with a 3-2 ratio, but Anderson, the mayor of Dunedin, held a 2-1 lead in his Pinellas County stronghold with votes left to be counted.

    "I'm delighted," Anderson said. "We worked hard."

    District 45 is nearly evenly split populationwise between Pasco and Pinellas counties, which made voter turnout critical for both men.

    Both men said their strategy during the election was to campaign on the other candidate's home turf. They agreed during the campaign that serving two population centers like Dunedin/Palm Harbor and Holiday/New Port Richey will be difficult. Both said they've given thought to having two offices, one in each county, to help constituents.

    The winner of Tuesday's primary will face Democrat Kevin Jensen, the former spokesman for Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, and John Doherty, a Libertarian candidate and Hudson computer technician, in the general election in November.

    Anderson was twice elected to the Dunedin City Commission, and three times elected mayor of the city. A retired management consultant, Anderson's ideas for office are often colored by his business background: increasing efficiency to save money, and adding a more powerful auditing agency for the Legislature to study departments, to name two.

    Legg served as a legislative aide to state Rep. Heather Fiorentino for three years before he left to start Pasco's first charter school, the Dayspring Academy. Legg's ideas -- adjusting state funding formulas to help fast-growing counties to build schools, and linking water needs with growth control laws -- come from his time in Tallahassee and from teaching government to middle school students.

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