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District 58 Florida House

The incumbent was the challenger two years ago. This time around, he has the financial advantage, and his opponent is going door-to-door for support.

By MICHAEL SANDLER

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000


Bob Henriquez understands the role of a challenger. Two years ago, he reclaimed the House District 58 seat district for the Democratic Party.

"I was outspent 3-1 last time," Henriquez said. "I was unknown."

Not anymore. This year Henriquez, the incumbent representative and the former head football coach at Jesuit High School, seems to have a heavy financial advantage over Republican Eddy Calcines, a hair designer and longtime West Tampa resident, in the coming election.

By early September, Henriquez had raised 10 times as much campaign money as Calcines.

"It's good to be the incumbent," Henriquez said. "That goes with the territory."

After defeating Deborah Tamargo in 1998 -- she was the first Republican ever elected to the district -- Henriquez quickly established himself as a player in Tallahassee. He sought bipartisan support to pass some non-controversial bills his first year in office.

"Relationships are so important in Tallahassee," Henriquez said. "So much of what we do is not partisan. If you are into law-making and policy-making, there is not much room for an idealogue."

Calcines defeated Hector Vila in the September primary. Since then, he has spent three to four days each week knocking on doors. He has set a goal of 500 homes a week, hoping to reach 5,000 of the nearly 40,000 homes in the West Tampa area by Tuesday.

"I know I'm not going to get a lot of endorsements from special interest groups," Calcines said. "I hope to get the endorsement of the people."

Canvassing the neighborhood is only part of the effort. In an attempt to maximize his time, Calcines has turned his hair studio into his campaign headquarters, juggling phone calls with perms.

"That's one of my fears, that my business at the shop will be hurting," said Calcines, who cut his work schedule to three 10-hour business days and part of Saturday. If elected, Calcines "would like to continue in the business. But at the same time, I have such a desire to win the position."

THE JOB

State House District 58 includes parts of central and West Tampa. A map of Florida House districts appears elsewhere. State representatives serve two-year terms and earn $27,900 annually.

REPUBLICAN

EDUARDO "EDDY" CALCINES, 44, is a business owner and active West Tampa resident. Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, Calcines moved to Milwaukee at age 14. At 17, he became a hair designer and has owned his own salon 17 years. He ran for Hillsborough County School Board in 1996 and was vice chairman of the Billy Graham Crusade from 1996 to 1998. He serves on the board of directors for Bayshore Christian School. He is married with two sons. His wife, Mercedes, is running his campaign. ASSETS: house, life insurance, business, car, savings. LIABILITIES: mortgage, loan. SOURCE OF INCOME: business, school director's salary.

DEMOCRAT

BOB HENRIQUEZ, 36, won this seat in 1998. Born and raised in Tampa, Henriquez attended Princeton University and graduated with a degree in political science. He also works as an urban planner for SBA Inc. and coaches high school football at Jefferson. He was honored by both the Florida Teachers Association and Florida School Board Association as Freshman Legislator of the Year in 1999, and by the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association in 2000 as Legislator of the Year on Growth Management Issues. He is married. ASSETS: house, cars, boat, savings. LIABILITIES: mortgage, loan. SOURCE OF INCOME: house salary and salary from SBA Inc., a Brandon consulting firm that works with cellular phone towers.

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