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Taylor's confidence proves justified

The late-entry candidate had been told to expect a closer margin in the race to finish the mayor's term. Leggiere expresses relief over his loss.

By MATTHEW WAITE

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2000


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PORT RICHEY -- Eloise Taylor, once a surprise entry into the mayor's race, soundly defeated acting Mayor Robert Leggiere by 18 percent of the total vote Tuesday for the right to finish out a former mayor's term.

"I felt pretty confident that I had a lot of support," Taylor said after Tuesday's special Port Richey election. "But what I heard from a number of people who know Port Richey politics thought it would be close.

"A lot of people didn't like what they saw and they wanted a change."

Tuesday's special election fills the job vacated by Eileen Ferdinand, who left in June to run for Pasco County Commission. Ferdinand was behind in her own race for District 5 commissioner Tuesday night.

Taylor, 58, a local attorney and former city attorney in Port Richey, will be mayor until April, when regular elections for mayor and a council seat are held.

Leggiere, 59, a two-time council member and acting mayor since June, was the first to enter the race for mayor, and many in the city thought the race would be uncontested.

Taylor entered the race when news of an investigation into an accusation that Leggiere interfered with a building official surfaced in July. Leggiere has denied the accusation.

Leggiere said he was relieved the campaign, and his life in city politics, was over.

"I wasn't in the game for politics," Leggiere said. "I had to do what I thought was right. I'm relieved. I have time to spend with my family again."

Nearly 33 percent of Port Richey voters cast ballots, compared with less than 20 percent of county voters.

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

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