By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 2000
Pasco County sheriff
Republican Bob White appeared headed for a stunning upset of Democratic Pasco County Sheriff Lee Cannon.
White, 50, a sergeant with the Clearwater office of the state Department of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, is a political newcomer.
Cannon, 54, who was elected sheriff in 1992, outspent White, who refused to criticize the two-term incumbent during the campaign, saying the campaign wasn't about the two candidates. He said the campaign was about getting more deputies on the streets.
Cannon said he was running on his record, which he said included a reduced Pasco crime rate and a recent $3.7-million pay raise for his 850 employees.
Much of White's backing came from two well-known Pasco politicians and the state Republican party. State Rep. Mike Fasano and former County Commissioner-turned lobbyist Ed Collins gave White advice and helped him with fundraising.
"I can't say that I've groomed myself for politics over the past 22 years," White said in January when he announced his candidacy. "The unknown is not necessarily a bad thing in this case."
The balance of power on the Hillsborough County Commission was teetering under the determined assault of Republican challenger Stacey Lyn Easterling, who held a solid lead over Democratic incumbent Ben Wacksman.
Though Jan Platt and Thomas Scott, both Democrats, appeared headed for easy re-election, an Easterling win would tip control of the commission to the Republicans, who would have a 4-3 edge.
Democratic Hillsborough Public Defender Julianne Holt held a slight lead over Republican challenger Alan Sandler with results still incomplete.
Holt had fielded election-season complaints filed with the state ethics commission by former employees, including an allegation she had her employees perform personal work for her on state time.
Holt, 46 first won office in 1992 by beating longtime Public Defender Judge C. Luckey. Sandler worked as one of Luckey's assistants in the early 1990s.
For the third time in 20 years, a bid to repeal term limits for Tampa mayor and City Council members was resoundingly defeated.
Voters decided that the mayor and council members should be limited to two four-year terms in office. But backers of the repeal had one person in mind when they proposed a change -- Mayor Dick Greco.
With the referendum's failure, Greco will have to leave office when his term expires in three years.
Republican Ted Schrader won a convincing victory in the race for the District 1 Pasco County Commission seat against Democrat Charlotte Kiefer.
But the race for the District 5 seat was far closer. Democrat Peter A. Altman, the former mayor of New Port Richey, appeared to have defeated Republican Jack Armstrong in one of the area's closest races.
Anna Cowin was having little trouble holding onto her state Senate seat, easily outpacing her Democratic challenger, Marion County School Board member Leslie Scales.
Late returns showed that voters in District 11, which includes east Citrus County, were in favor of sending Cowin back to Tallahassee, where she sponsored Gov. Jeb Bush's A+
education plan and chairs the Senate Education committee.
In a tight race, a 27-year veteran of law enforcement won the top job in the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.
Richard Nugent, a major in the department, edged James "Eddie" McConnell, a sergeant in the same office, 49 percent to 46 percent.
Michael Robinson, a former investigator for the Florida Department of Veteran Affairs, got 5 percent of the vote.