BROOKSVILLE — Software consultant Jeff Holcomb won the Republican primary for the Hernando County Commission District 4 seat by 79 votes over real estate agent Laurie Pizzo.
The race was close all night, with Holcomb taking a large lead early but Pizzo charged back as more precinct results came in to the elections office.
Holcomb will face Democrat Dan Oliver and no-party candidate H. David Werder in the November general election.
Holcomb, 43, an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves, has been a software consultant for the financial industry for 15 years. He is a member of the Republican Executive Committee.
“It’s pretty nerve racking,” Holcomb said of the close race. “To be at this point, I guess I have to say I feel pretty good about that.”
Pizzo, 47, has been a licensed Realtor for more than 10 years and currently works for Keller Williams Tampa Properties. She outspent Holcomb 3 to 1 in the election and received endorsements from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, House Speaker Will Weatherford, State Sen. Wilton Simpson and Florida State Rep. Jimmie T. Smith.
The Hernando County Realtors Association also backed Pizzo in her campaign.
Holcomb and Pizzo both agreed that job growth is the most pressing issue facing Hernando County. But they differ on other key issues, including the Penny for Projects sales tax initiative that will be on the general election.
Holcomb opposed it, calling the combining of the revenue a risky proposition for schools.
He has a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in intelligence studies.
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In the non-partisan 5th Judicial Circuit Judge race Mary Hatcher and Denise Lyn will face each other in a November run-off election because neither achieved a majority of the vote.
Hatcher and Lyn defeated incumbent Sandy Kautz, elected six years ago to the seat. Attorney Bo Samargya also lost the primary race.
The circuit includes Hernando, Citrus, Lake, Sumter and Marion counties.