AMY WIMMER SCHWARB
She picks up a second term with a win that draws wider support from the 13 counties in the district.
State Sen. Nancy Argenziano found widespread support across her 13-county district Tuesday in an election victory that earned her a second term in the state Senate.
Argenziano, a Republican, expected to win nearly every county Tuesday night. One county she expected to lean toward her opponent, Democrat Barry Brooks, was Leon County, Brooks' home county, where he works as a deputy tax collector.
Brooks' job in the county Tax Collector's Office became a major point in the campaign, as Argenziano criticized his refusal to quit his $66,000-a-year government job to work full-time as a state senator, where he would earn about $29,000 a year.
Also in the campaign, Brooks criticized Argenziano for her style, saying she was too brash for the state Senate and he wanted to be a "statesman" for the district.
Argenziano pointed out that she has made her position as state senator a full-time job, and said Tuesday that she thinks she proved herself to voters.
"I worked real hard in the last two years in those counties, and they got to know me, and I'm just honored by their trust in me," Argenziano said.
In her first run for state Senate two years ago, Argenziano won districtwide but received the majority of the votes in only four of the 13 counties in District 3: Levy, Baker, Citrus and Marion. The portions of Citrus and Marion counties that are part of that district, however, make up more than 50 percent of voters districtwide, so those votes put her over the top.
Like other legislators elected Tuesday, Argenziano said she hopes to use the upcoming legislative session to help hurricane victims, particularly small business people.
Brooks said he thought money made a difference in the race; as of Friday, Brooks had raised $24,362, while Argenziano had amassed $213,199.
"I'm proud of the campaign that we ran on a shoestring budget," Brooks said. "She did well across the board this time. She had the resources to get her message out, so she did well."
Amy Wimmer Schwarb can be reached at 352 860-7305 or firstname.lastname@example.org