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Candidate bounces out of hospital to ply voters

"This is recuperating,'' says David Hickey, a candidate for school superintendent.

By BARBARA BEHRENDT

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 2000


CRYSTAL RIVER -- Democratic school superintendent candidate David Hickey, who was hospitalized over the weekend, was on the street on Election Day talking to voters and assuring people he was fine.

"This is recuperating," he said as he greeted voters at a precinct in Homosassa. "I was just a little bit under the weather."

Hickey was in the intensive care unit at Seven Rivers Community Hospital Saturday and Sunday. He said he was released late Sunday.

As for the conflicting reports from the hospital and his campaign about his whereabouts on Monday, Hickey said he and his family "got gone" on Monday so he could rest up for Election Day.

On Monday, the hospital reported Hickey had been discharged. However, his campaign manager Roberta Long insisted he was still hospitalized. Telephone messages to Hickey on Monday went unanswered and no one answered the door at his home.

The hospitalization raised questions about Hickey's overall health, but family members and supporters had said he was in the intensive care unit for observation and tests and not because of any serious or long-term medical problem. Long said supporters would try to get him to take it easy on Tuesday, but Hickey said he wanted to be out campaigning.

"I'm just trying to do this the old-fashioned way" by talking to voters, he said. "I'm just doing what I"m supposed to be doing."

He noted that he had lost 16 pounds during the campaign and got sick in the process. He had reportedly been suffering from fatigue, leg cramps and dehydration when he checked in at the hospital emergency room Saturday.

"I'm fine," he said. "And I've got work to do tomorrow."

He said that after the election he planned to do some work at Crystal River Middle School, where he is principal. Also on the agenda: taking down campaign signs and spending much-anticipated time with his family.

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