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    Enwall beats King to face Thurman

    By JIM ROSS

    © St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2000


    photo

    Complete election coverage is one click away

    Peter Enwall, a Gainesville lawyer, scored a narrow victory over Cedar Key teacher and author Jim King in the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District seat.

    "It was about like I thought," Enwall said when asked about the election returns. "I thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve my country and the people in my district in this manner.

    "I look forward to the challenge ahead," he continued. "And we'll head for November with great enthusiasm and energy."

    Enwall will need all that, and then some, when he faces U.S. Rep. Karen Thurman, the four-term Democratic incumbent, in the general election.

    Thurman, who represented the region in the state Senate for years before heading to Congress, is a popular incumbent well-known for providing good constituent service. She has easily defeated her past three political opponents.

    The 5th Congressional District includes Citrus and Hernando counties, part of Pasco County and all or parts of four other counties.

    The Republican primary was a low-key race until the end. The biggest news happened early on, when King, who originally planned to run as a Reform Party candidate, switched to the GOP.

    Matters heated up considerably last week, when King accused Enwall of supporting gay and lesbian couples' right to adoption, of being wishy-washy on tax reform and of being too soft on Second Amendment protections. Enwall issued vigorous denials.

    King certainly was the more conservative of the two, touting himself as an abortion opponent and a Christian whose right-to-bear-arms belief is so strong that he would support people owning tanks.

    Enwall, meanwhile, supported the Second Amendment but said reasonable limits were appropriate; specifically, he called on federal authorities to enforce existing gun laws.

    Tuesday night, Enwall said there was no reason why King's more conservative supporters shouldn't join with his moderate base to take on Thurman.

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