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Both candidates are from Pinellas

The two top candidates in House District 45, which is about half in Pasco, are both from Pinellas, but observers say that's no reason for concern.

By MATTHEW WAITE, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 12, 2002


The two top candidates in House District 45, which is about half in Pasco, are both from Pinellas, but observers say that's no reason for concern.

Barring a huge electoral upset, the next District 45 state representative will be from Pinellas County.

Tom Anderson, the current mayor of Dunedin, beat John Legg, a Pasco County teacher, with 55 percent of the vote in Tuesday's Republican primary. Anderson will now face Democrat Kevin Jensen, the former Palm Harbor Fire Rescue spokesman, and John Doherty, a Libertarian candidate, in the general election in November.

With the two major party candidates from Pinellas, and a district evenly split between Pasco and Pinellas counties, observers said whoever gets the job will have to balance two counties' issues.

"It's going to have some great challenges and opportunities for leadership," Legg said Wednesday.

In the District 45 Republican primary, 5,975 people voted in Pasco, 5,367 in Pinellas. Legg won his home county, but by a smaller margin than Anderson won his, which led to Anderson's eventual victory.

During the campaign, both men agreed on the issues that came up most: education, senior care, growth and water. And both used the strategy of campaigning on each other's turf.

Mike Fasano, who represented west Pasco and is a Republican running for Senate District 11 that stretches across four counties, said many legislators have to balance multiple counties' issues. He said having a representative who lives in Pinellas representing Pasco won't hurt the county.

"Tom Anderson worked Pasco aggressively," Fasano said. "I have no concerns whatsoever."

Jensen said he, too, would represent both counties equally.

"I understand the complexities of both counties," Jensen said. "A lot of their needs are similar. A lot of needs are different."

Both Anderson and Jensen have said if they represent the district, they would try to open two offices, one in each county. Both said they don't want territoriality to enter into the race.

"I don't see a north/south thing because we're all in this together," Jensen said.

-- Matthew Waite can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6247, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6247. His e-mail address is waite@sptimes.com.

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