St. Petersburg Times Online: Election 2000
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Incumbent strides ahead of newcomer

By ED QUIOCO

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 2000


PALM HARBOR -- Republican Gus Bilirakis held an imposing lead Tuesday night over an independent challenger in his attempt to win a second term as the representative from House District 48.

The seat covers East Lake, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, east Clearwater and parts of Palm Harbor and northwest Hillsborough County.

With about 71 percent of the precincts counted, Bilirakis led by a ratio of more than 3-to-1 over political newcomer Chris Gregg, 31, who contended that the incumbent was beholden to special-interest groups.

"I just try to look forward and not respond to those types of negative attacks," Bilirakis said.

"I'm very grateful to the voters and I won't let them down."

Gregg's grass-roots campaign included a promise not to accept money from special-interest groups or corporations.

"I think for the amount of money he spent and I spent, (the result) is proportionate," Gregg said.

"This was my first time, so I didn't know what to expect. I will be running again."

Bilirakis, 37, an estate planning and real estate attorney, is the son of longtime U.S. Rep. Mike Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor.

"I'm proud of my dad's name, extremely proud," he said. "The name recognition helps, but I have to prove myself."

Gregg, 31, was born in Milwaukee, moved to Pinellas County in 1974 and lives in Palm Harbor. He graduated from Gaither High School in Hillsborough County and joined the Air Force in 1991.

This is the second time Bilirakis has won easily. In 1998, he defeated Democrat Diane Ellis by an almost 3-to-1 ratio.

Gregg had never voted in an election before qualifying as a candidate.

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From the Times election desk

National
  • Recount: Presidency hangs on Florida duel
  • Hour by hour, outcome gets more uncertain
  • State by state
  • Republicans make gains in skirmish for 83 seats
  • Uneasy mood in Austin flips as votes do
  • Voters swayed by economy, health care, education, Social Security
  • Too close to call in Florida but TV did -- regretfully
  • Presidential campaign lures people to polls
  • Fight for Congress: no clear-cut winner
  • Election 2000 in brief

  • State
  • Nelson takes Senate seat
  • Republican Crist well on path to victory
  • Incumbent Crow slightly ahead
  • Race turns into nail-biter
  • Byrd dominating in bid for third term
  • Farkas soundly beats Fischer
  • Foster breaks ahead, takes lead over Baldwin
  • Wallace jumps to early lead over his challenger
  • Henriquez holds strong lead
  • Cowin gains ground in home county
  • Incumbent strides ahead of newcomer
  • Justice leading Kersteen by a comfortable margin
  • Murman headed for second term
  • Newcomer battle ends with Republican Berfield as victor
  • Waters blocks Brennan challenge
  • Miller's hopes look to be affirmed
  • Miller overpowers former Democrat
  • Floridians keep right to elect judges
  • Crist has slight lead on Castor
  • Thurman keeps District 5 seat
  • Bilirakis has big lead in District 9
  • C.W. Bill Young winning handily
  • Bullet train heading for success
  • Davis wins third term
  • Putnam takes early lead
  • Incumbent Russell's win thinner than predicted
  • GOP Rep. Miller is likely victor
  • Floridians keep right to elect judges
  • Gallagher coasts to victory and his old job
  • Littlefield again defeats McLaughlin
  • Fasano, Fiorentino winning return trip
  • Election roundup
  • Briefly

  • Pinellas
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  • One race won by landslide, another by a single vote
  • Lealman heads toward fire tax
  • Bobel, Dedman win approval
  • All changes to charter pass voters' muster
  • Peluso, Henry lead pack of 5 candidates

  • Hillsborough
  • Voters favor most amendments
  • Democrats bustle to get the vote out
  • Iorio builds her solid lead on record
  • Holt closing in on a third term
  • Term limits prevailing
  • Ober poised in attorney race
  • Republicans may reign in commission
  • Ake appears on his way to keep tenure unbroken
  • Results mixed on city amendments
  • Incumbent trails in four-way race
  • Two incumbents, Miller leading

  • Pasco
  • Altman holds slim lead
  • Challenger upsets incumbent Cannon
  • Second run is the charm for Schrader
  • Johnson captures Meadow Pointe post

  • Hernando
  • Bernardini bests longtime adversary
  • Sikes will succeed her sister upon retirement
  • Experienced teacher wins out over mom
  • Williams captures historic win
  • Early tally: Andrews first, Martin second, Hollander third
  • Democrats take over the board
  • Big ticket polls' big draw

  • Citrus
  • Activist Warren sails past Cooper
  • Council incumbents out; new mayor in
  • Schultz wins, will serve a final term ending in 2004
  • Hickey wins Citrus superintendent race
  • Bush is easy winner in the schoolhouse
  • Eager voters met with long lines
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