St. Petersburg Times Online: Election 2000
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Decision on sheriff brings prayers, tears

Bob White says: "I see this as more of a calling than a pursuit.'' Lee Cannon emotionally thanks supporters.


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2000

HOLIDAY -- At the moment of victory, Bob White's first instinct was to pray.

Pasco's new sheriff-elect bowed his head and gave thanks to the Lord and the 72,952 people who elected him. At his side stood his wife, Diane, and a few dozen supporters who gathered Tuesday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Grand Boulevard.

"I see this as more of a calling than a pursuit," White said later, as he grinned and hugged his sunburned volunteers.

White, 50, admitted to feeling a little overwhelmed. This was his first run for elected office, and he ousted Lee Cannon, a two-term sheriff who is president of the Florida Sheriff's Association, by 4,835 votes.

A few miles away, in a room dimly lit to match the mood, Cannon conceded defeat and tearfully thanked his supporters.

"Keep your chin up," he said to several of them. "Don't let anyone get you down."

Cannon's tears were mixed in with the sniffles throughout the room at Seven Springs Golf and Country Club, filled with his supporters, many of them deputies.

One of the more emotional thank yous from Cannon was to his executive assistant, Harold Sample. Cannon wept as he hugged his longtime friend. Sample said that with Cannon, the Sheriff's Office has come a long way.

"You leave us a much better place, for each one of these folks and for the citizens of Pasco County," Sample told Cannon.

Cannon said he had eight good years in office and made many friends.

"The rewards that I've gotten from being sheriff, there's no way in the world I can explain that to people," he said.

But his final sentiment to the crowd was a backhanded swipe at state Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, a big supporter of White.

"I hate to say this, because I know a person who says it all the time: God bless you," Cannon said, echoing Fasano's trademark goodbye phrase.

Mike Cox, the head of the Pasco County Democratic Party, said Cannon's outspoken, aggressive demeanor is the type of personality people say they want in politicians.

"But when we get that in a politician, we find it's an attribute we don't like."

But Cox said Cannon wasn't through with politics.

"I'll carry a Lee Cannon sign again," Cox said.

Cannon also hinted at a future run for office.

"It may not be over," Cannon said. "You never know what kind of crazy things I might do in the future."

Cannon said Tuesday that he would try to make the transition to White's administration as smooth as possible.

"I will certainly meet with him to do an orderly turnover," said Cannon. "The Sheriff's Office doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the sheriff. If people decide they want a new sheriff, I'll respect that."

But Cannon said that it may take the agency a little while "for things to settle."

White said he expects a low-key transition. He has a steep learning curve in the next few weeks: He has to pick a command staff and get to know an agency that spends $1-million a week.

"I don't even know where (Cannon's) office is located, on what side of the building," White said.

Early Wednesday morning, after most of his supporters had left, White fingered a small lapel pin in the shape of a sheriff's badge. It was a gift from Ed Collins, a former county commissioner and current Tallahassee lobbyist.

"I can't even begin to tell you the responsibility I feel," White said. "I've talked to so many people. To think that I might let those folks down is a little more than I can stand right now. I can't let them down -- that's not an option."

Back to Election 2000
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Special Links
Tim Nickens
The Presidential race
Florida races
Pinellas races
Hillsborough races
Pasco races
Hernando races
Citrus races

From the Times election desk


  • Recount begins as world watches
  • What a difference 12 hours makes
  • Voters statewide say they had poll troubles
  • Why the networks' call kept changing
  • Tired eyes watch over recount
  • Media rechecking their crystal balls
  • Wall Street joins nation in long wait
  • Election mania has everyone talking, waiting
  • Remarks by George W. Bush, Al Gore on the election returns
  • The victor must earn legitimacy by uniting
  • A Rather long night
  • Inside the Electoral College
  • Overseas ballots suddenly crucial
  • Presidential results
  • Election results
  • U.S. Senate winners
  • Governor winners
  • Election briefs
  • U.S. House winners
  • State

  • A night the Bushes won't forget
  • Funding for train mystifies officials
  • Capitol leaders predict less partisan session
  • Disclosure's role debated
  • Pinellas

  • Gore vote says GOP has edge, not a lock, in Pinellas County
  • Three recounts needed in fire district race
  • Vote shocks senior center's fans
  • Hillsborough

  • Gore won city; Bush swept the suburbs
  • Tired eyes watch over recount
  • House District 60 race won by smallest margin
  • Easterling says knocking on doors helped her win
  • To their regret, non-voters learn: It matters
  • So much to count, so little time
  • Pasco

  • Decision on sheriff brings prayers, tears
  • Cannon became his 'own worst enemy'
  • Recount gives a new name to fatigue: Chad
  • Cannon has only himself to blame for his downfall
  • Two new commissioners aren't passive
  • Hernando

  • Democrats: New force in Hernando
  • Voters discard politics of race in picking elections supervisor
  • All around the county, the election is the word
  • Recount dominates day after elections
  • Citrus

  • Citrus first in state to give results
  • Hickey hopes to mend rifts
  • Republicans fare well with Citrus voters
  • Recount blurs result in Crystal River race
  • Collector, appraiser victors are grateful
  • Election results
  • Votes hit close to home for these two
  • Activist was wild card in race
  • Results leave many befuddled
  • Council races hinged on past contretemps

  • From the AP
    national wire
  • Bush Pledges Iraq Arms Hunt Will Continue
  • 'Partial Birth' Abortion Ban Passes House