tampabay.com

Nine want job of representative

They want the seat vacated by Charles Dean, who is now running for the state Senate.

By JOHN FRANK
Published May 15, 2007


Nine candidates will vie to replace state Rep. Charles Dean in a special election set for early next month.

Qualifying for the special election ended at noon Monday, revealing a diverse field of candidates - two Democrats, five Republicans, one nonaffiliated and one write-in - to fill the seat representing Citrus County and parts of Hernando and Levy counties.

The Hernando portion of the district includes 12, 000 voters in a narrow slice protruding down from Citrus County to State Road 50, roughly stretching from the Suncoast Parkway west to U.S. 19.

The seat was vacated in a series of political dominoes. Last month, Dean, the longtime Inverness Republican representative resigned his District 43 seat to seek the state Senate District 3 position left open when Gov. Charlie Crist recently appointed Nancy Argenziano to the state's Public Service Commission.

Crist set a special primary election on June 5 for both the House and Senate seats. The special general election is June 26. The winner will fill out the unexpired term through 2008.

Here are the candidates who qualified to run in the primary and general elections:

Democrats

- Sophia Diaz-Fonseca of Inverness is the Inverness City Council president who recently resigned to run in the special election.

- Patricia Lee Kittleman of Sugarmill Woods is a longtime Democratic activist.

Republicans

- Robert E. Haber of Floral City is a Hernando County employee.

- Susan Kirk of Crystal River is a former member of the Crystal River City Council who resigned to run in the special election.

- Ron Schultz of Homosassa is a former longtime Citrus County property appraiser.

- Winfield "Winn" Webb of Inverness is a retired Citrus County sheriff's deputy and community resources officer.

- Michael "Joey" White of Lecanto is a former Dunnellon City Council member who ran unsuccessfully for the District 43 seat in 2002.

Nonaffiliated

- "Taxi" Dave Gregory of Homosassa Springs.

Write-in candidate

- David Werder of Hudson is a Democrat who lost twice as a write-in candidate for U.S. Congress.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or 754-6114.