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Calcines defeats Vila, to face Henriquez next

By MICHAEL SANDLER

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2000


TAMPA -- A barber will challenge a football coach for a chance to represent West Tampa in the state House of Representatives.

Eddy Calcines defeated Hector Vila by a 2-to-1 ratio in the Republican primary for District 58.

"I'm humbled at the thought that we could actually win this," Calcines said.

"Mr. Vila deserves a lot of credit for being out here and fighting the way he did. That man was everywhere."

Calcines will face Democratic incumbent Bob Henriquez, a popular representative and former high school football coach at Tampa Catholic High School, in the Nov. 7 general election.

If elected, Calcines, a 44-year-old hair designer, said he would make education his priority.

He hopes to take government surplus and apply the money toward public schools. He also supports charter schools.

Vila, 69, a longtime entrepreneur, seemed relaxed after an election day that began at 7:15 a.m.

He, his wife and 20 campaign workers said they stopped at all 40 precincts in the district hoping to enlist support from voters.

Later, they gathered at the Egypt Lake Park recreation center to take in the results, along with a buffet dinner of baked ziti, salad and cake.

"I've been going from poll to poll, working 30 minutes here, 40 minutes there," he said.

Calcines stayed out until 1 a.m. Tuesday positioning signs, then awoke at 5 a.m. for one last campaign swing.

But with a comfortable lead, he waited with family and friends at his home and feasted on black beans and rice, salad and apple pie.

"I'm honored just to be able to do this," he said in the company of his sons.

"They know they can be a part of the system and know they can run."

- Michael Sandler can be reached at (813) 226-3472 or sandler@sptimes.com.

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