By Jeff Odom
It was a good evening for winning candidates on Election Day, but the Pasco County supervisor of elections office may have felt even better.
The county received national spotlight from CNN, Fox News and chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, who touted the hourly turn out figures from Pasco’s website and election supervisor Brian Corley’s Twitter page.
“Pasco County, FL is offering real-time turnout figures,” Rove tweeted with a link to the election’s website to his nearly 500,000 followers.
The number of people visiting the election website was so high that it crashed the server for a period of time.
Corley said it was good to see his county highlighted nationally.
“We were on Fox with Karl Rove and CNN, we even had journalists from the United Kingdom calling,” Corley said. “The attention it garnered was actually quite flattering, and it speaks to my amazing staff and Pasco’s excellence running these (elections).”
Corley said the county started using electronic poll books to provide real-time results in 2007 as a prototype to replace the outdated paper method. Corley added that it quickly took off and his county is the only one in the country to put out exact turnout results online hourly.
“It’s just as simple as we’re taking the electronic poll books and just monitoring the number of electronic voting passes issued and the key is turnout,” Corley said. “(The computer) breaks it down by party and by precinct. I do the Twitter page myself and somehow it got to Mr. Rove’s level, which was very, very flattering.”
Incumbents finished with a major advantage over their challengers as many clinched new terms.
Sheriff Chris Nocco, a Republican, won his first full term by handily defeating Democratic challenger Kim Bogart by 30 percent.
Other winners in the county were Republican property appraiser Mike Wells, who will enter his fifth term; Republican Paula O’Neil, who won a second term as clerk of court, and Democrat Mike Olsen, who will be serving as tax collector for the ninth time.
Republican Gus Bilirakis defeated Jonathan Snow, a Democrat, by 34 percent to represent U.S. Congress District 12 for the third time.
Nationally, President Barack Obama defeated Republican challenger and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney clinching 332 of the 538 possible electoral votes. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson also defeated former U.S. congressman Connie Mack, a Republican, with 55 percent of the vote.
Eight of the 11 proposed amendments to the state constitution failed to pass.
Sheriff – Chris Nocco (R) 65%, Kim Bogart (D) 35%
Clerk of Court – Paula O’Neil (R) 76%, Roberta Cutting 24%
Property Appraiser – Mike Wells (R) 67%, Allison Newlon (D) 33%
Superintendent of Schools – Kurt S. Browning* (R) 100%
County Commission – Kathryn Starkey (R) 59%, Matt Murphy (D) 41%
Tax Collector – Mike Olson (D) 68%, Ed Blommel (R) 32%
Penny for Pasco – For 70%, Against 30%
* Write-in opponent only