Gary Nager Editorial

Considering the contentious state of politics in our state and country these days, it’s clear that one of the most important midterm General Elections in recent memory will be held on Tuesday, November 8. 

On the ballot for those of you who live in Wesley Chapel, in addition to races for U.S. Senator, a new Representative in the U.S. Congress and Governor of Florida, are also-important races for the State Senate and Florida House, as well as State Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and Chief Financial Officer. 

Locally, any chances of hotly contest races have long disappeared, particularly in contests involving the Pasco County Commission.

The District 4 seat was up for grabs between Aug. 23 Republican Primary winner Gary Bradford and his friend and Write-In opponent Cory A Patterson. But Patterson has pulled out, so Bradford is in. Same goes for Dist. 2 Write-In candidate Louie Rodriguez, who gave the Dist. 2 seat to Republican Primary winner Seth Weightman.

One Pasco School Board seat was supposed to be headed to a Nov. 8 runoff, but Primary Election top finisher Al Hernandez was disqualified because he did not move into his District 1 in time to officially qualify for the election (where he was supposed to face a runoff against second-place finisher James Washington because neither earned 50% of the vote), and third-pace finisher Stephen Meisman, who lodged the complaint against Hernandez’s residential status, withdrew when he was not added to the Nov. 8 ballot, apparently handing Washington the seat. But Hernadez, who is endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and has outraised Washington $114,767.62 to $18,805, is still on the ballot — for now — thanks to the 2nd District Court of Appeal pausing the lower court’s order. Oh boy.

Speaking of confusion, also on the Nov. 8 ballot, following the successful passing of the Aug. 23 ballot measure increasing the property tax millage rate by $1 (per each $1,000 of taxable value) to raise the pay for Pasco’s public school teachers, are the State Constitutional Amendment ballot measures and the continuation of the Penny for Pasco one-cent sales surtax beginning in 2025 (when the current Penny referendum ends). Although the School District will receive 45% of the funds from the Penny (as will the county, with 10% going to the incorporated cities in Pasco), those school funds are for capital projects not salaries, so the School District put the property tax increase on the Aug. 23 ballot, in order to avoid confusion about the two taxes. Mission accomplished? Hmmm.

Here are the highlights on the Nov. 8 ballot. While we did not have space for the entire ballot, you should have your official Sample Ballot by now.  

WESLEY CHAPEL’S NOV. 8 GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT (Early voting is available thru Nov. 6)

U.S. Senator
Marco Rubio (REP; Incumbent)
Val Demings (DEM)
Dennis Misigoy (LPF)
Steven B. Grant (NPA)
Tuan TQ Nguyen (NPA)

Representative in U.S. Congress, District 12
Gus Michael Bilirakis (REP)
Kimberly Walker (DEM)

Governor & Lieutenant Governor
Ron DeSantis/Jeanette Nuñez (REP; Incumbt)
Charlie Crist/Karla Hernandez (DEM)
Hector Roos/Jerry “Tub” Rorabaugh (LPF)
Carmen Jackie Gimenez/Kyle “KC” Gibson (NPA)

State Attorney General
Ashley Moody (REP; Incumbent)
Aramis Ayala (DEM)

Chief Financial Officer
Jimmy Patronis (REP; Incumbent)
Adam Hattersley (DEM)

Commissioner of Agriculture
Wilton Simpson (REP)
Naomi Esther Blemur (DEM)

State Senator – District 23
Danny Burgess (REP)
Mike Harvey (DEM)

State Representative – District 54
Randy Maggard (REP)
Brian Staver (DEM)
Ryan S. Otwell (NPA)

Countywide Referendum — 2025 Penny For Pasco
To Fund Job Creation. Public Safety, Environmental Lands, Education and Infrastructure.

Shall a one-cent sales surtax continue to be levied, beginning in 2025 and continuing through 2039, and shared among Pasco County Schools (45%), Pasco County (45%) and Pasco’s cities (10%) for: job creation and economic development projects (pursuant to Section 212.055(2)(d)3, Florida Statutes; public safety infrastructure, acquiring environmentally sensitive lands; infrastructure for new schools, renovations, additions, athletics, instructional technology and security; parks and recreation infrastructure; transportation infrastructure; and public infrastructure within the cities? ____Yes ____No

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