By CHASE SQUIRES
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 2000
DADE CITY -- San Antonio Republican businessman Ted Schrader, in his second bid for the District 1 County Commission seat, headed for a comfortable victory Tuesday over Democratic opponent Charlotte Kiefer.
The race this time was wide open, as the seat was vacant for the first time since Commissioner Sylvia Young took office in 1980. Young held the seat, defeating Schrader along the way in 1996, until announcing her retirement this summer.
Although the race was relatively quiet for most of the fall, Kiefer, in her first run for public office, shook things up last week with an aggressive mailer. She made no apologies for hounding Schrader over his past dealings in real estate and said she ran as hard a race as she knew how.
Schrader, 44, said Kiefer gave him a tough time, but he was happy with the work done by his volunteer base and said he used a lot of what he learned in his first race to improve his operation this time.
"Everybody I talked with they said I had better expect Charlotte to be a fighter," Schrader said Tuesday night. "Running three businesses in three counties, that's a lot of work, and we knew she was tough.
"We just had to work extremely hard."
Kiefer, 54, ran three furniture stores until turning over the business to relatives last year. She said she gave the race everything she had, including a lot of her own money.
According to the latest campaign finance reports, Schrader generated $88,881 in cash contributions, many of them $200 and up.
Among the notables contributing were singers the Bellamy Brothers, a Georgia landfill company, Dade City Commissioner Hutch Brock and Withlacoochee Electric Cooperative chief Billy Brown.
Kiefer collected $53,499 in cash donations, but $34,600 of that came from Kiefer or her family in the form of loans and contributions. Notable contributors included downtown businesses, outgoing commissioner Young, former Dade City Mayors Agnes Lamb and Charles McIntosh and current Mayor Scott Black.
By contributing to her own account, Kiefer said she proved she couldn't be bought by outside interests.
"It was really up to the voters. I wish him the best," she said.
Schrader, taking a seat once held by his grandfather, Arthur H. Schrader, said he will set up his main office in Dade City in the same courthouse where his grandfather served.
"This means a lot to me," he said.