St. Petersburg Times Online: Election 2000
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Collector, appraiser victors are grateful


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2000

One secured a third term in office. The other is starting a new career.

But both victors in Tuesday's races for constitutional offices said they were equally grateful to voters for their strong showing in the polls.

Tax Collector-elect Janice Warren, a former SunTrust banker, bounced from one major intersection to another Wednesday sporting an ear-to-ear grin and waving a thank you sign. She takes over an office held for 26 years by Norine Gilstrap, who inherited the post from her husband.

Warren credited hustle and the hard work of a large crew of volunteers for her victory over Democrat Lee Cooper.

"I've been preparing for this for four years. My grandmother told us that if we worked hard and we didn't whine, we could do anything we wanted to do," Warren said. "She was right."

She won all but three of Citrus County's 35 precincts and took 58 percent in the general election that featured little rancor between her and her opponent. That's a strong showing for a newcomer to elected office.

Warren said her campaign visited 7,400 homes throughout Citrus County. Some 100 young volunteers pitched in, holding a softball game and bowling outing as fundraisers. Along the way, she amassed more than $49,000 to put her face on billboards and send out fliers.

Though she will have to wait until her Jan. 2 swearing in, Warren said she can't wait to get started. She said she plans to spend a few days in the office in December, with Gilstrap's permission, to get a better sense of how it operates.

Property Appraiser Ron Schultz also spent Wednesday standing alongside the county's busiest roads, holding a thank you sign and waving to drivers. Schultz had plenty to be thankful for: Voters gave the Republican his third and final term in office.

Schultz picked up 31,494 votes, winning 28 of the 35 precincts and most of the absentee ballots. His Democratic challenger, real estate consultant John Barnes, earned 24,103 votes.

Although Barnes criticized Schultz during the campaign for stirring costly controversies, Schultz said the vote showed that residents want an official who is willing to take a stand.

"We do have some debates and controversies ... and occasionally I get typecast as the one causing the debate," Schultz said. "It is good to have debate, and the general public thinks they are better off when there is debate."

Schultz, 61, said this will be his last term. He has filed paperwork to retire in January 2004.

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