Donald J. Trump is next president
Pasco County voters joined the nation in selecting Donald J. Trump as the United States’ next president in the 2016 general election, while a majority of Hillsborough County voters selected Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had sought to become America’s first female president.
Scores of voters took advantage of early voting, but hordes turned out on Nov. 8, eager to cast their ballot on Election Day.
They offered different points of view — in an election widely characterized as being historic, and divisive.
At the Alice Hall Community Center in Zephyrhills, 57-year-old voter Chris Corporra said he voted for Trump because he’s a political outsider.
Corporra said he agrees with many of Trump’s stances.
“You hire a politician, and you get political results. You get somebody on the outside, and they’ll take care of it,” Corporra said. “Trump isn’t the most polished…but, you know exactly where you stand with him.”
As Corporra drove around Zephyrhills before Election Day, he said he noticed long lines at several early voting locations. “They were out in droves. The silent majority is coming out in force.”
Kody Roberts, a registered Republican, also voted in Zephyrhills. She supported Jill Stein.
“I like what she stands for; I like her objectives,” the 22-year-old Roberts said. “I can’t agree with some of Trump’s beliefs, and I definitely cannot agree with some of Hillary’s, so I was just like, ‘You know what, I’m going to go third-party this time.’”
Zephyrhills resident Eric Pinson favored Trump mainly because of his platform to establish immigration controls. Pinson also expressed concern about what could happen to his Second Amendment rights, under a Clinton administration.
Meanwhile, at The Groves, Land O’ Lakes resident Jill Shelton stood in a long line to cast her vote. She brought her children, Lucy, 5, Caroline, 8, and Nicholas, 10.
“It’s history,” Shelton said, explaining why she wanted them to be there as she voted for Clinton, the first female presidential nominee of a major political party.
“This is a big moment,” Shelton said.
She did note, however, that her support for Clinton was not absolute: “I have some questions about trustworthiness for her,” she said. But, she added: “I feel Donald Trump is not fit to be our president. I think he is beyond ridiculous.”
Fifty-eight-year-old Gordon Brown, who cast his vote at the Lutz Community Center, thinks that Clinton is the one unfit to be president.
Brown characterized Clinton as “morally bankrupt, criminally corrupt and totally untrustworthy.
“And, those are her good qualities,” he added.
Casey Otto, 36, who brought his 4-year-old daughter, Indie, with him to cast his ballot, also voted at the Lutz Community Center.
He dressed his little girl in red, white and blue to mark the occasion.
Otto supported Gary Johnson. “I tend to be Libertarian — fiscally conservative and socially liberal. He’s most in line with my line of thinking,” Otto said.
Seventy-eight-year-old Mary Gaulden, of Land O’ Lakes, sat on a stool near the Land O’ Lakes Community Center, proudly holding a Trump sign. She wanted to demonstrate her support to passing motorists and people streaming in to vote.
“I think America is at a crossroads,” Gaulden said. “I really want Donald Trump to win the presidency.”
She criticized President Barack Obama.
“Our president is not being the Commander-in-Chief that he needs to be. Our military is weakened,” said Gaulden, who arrived at the polling place at 10 a.m., and was still there in the late afternoon.
Throughout the day, she said motorists reacted to her sign.
Some honked as they drove past.
“I’ve got a thumb’s up; a thumb’s down; a bird of paradise,” Gaulden said.
Some hollered “No,” at her. Others stopped and told her they voted for Trump.
One passerby even pretended to be taking aim — with an imaginary gun — to shoot at her, she said.
“I just waved and smiled,” Gaulden said.
No matter where they stood, voters wanted their voice to be heard.
Pasco County boasted a 72.8 percent voter turnout, with 244,620 of its 336,037 registered voters casting ballots. Turnout was slightly lower in Hillsborough County, where 606,224 of the county’s 849,843 registered voters cast ballots, or 71.3 percent.
While the presidential election clearly took center stage, voters decided many other important races and issues.
Voters gave U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Republican in District 12, another term in Congress. He defeated Robert Matthew Tager.
A majority of Pasco and Hillsborough voters concurred with other Florida voters to send Marco Rubio back to Washington for another term in the U.S. Senate. He defeated Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
In state races, State Sen. Jack Latvala retained his seat in the Legislature, and Amber Mariano defeated Amanda Murphy in the race for State House District 36.
Pasco County Results:
- Paula O’Neill defeated Roberta Cutting for Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller.
- Gary Joiner defeated Jon Sidney Larkin for Property Appraiser.
- Ron Oakley defeated Dimitri A. Delgado for District 1 on the Pasco County Commission.
- Kathryn Starkey defeated Barry Horvath for District 3 on the Pasco County Commission.
- Jack Mariano defeated write-in opponents for District 5 on the Pasco County Commission.
Hillsborough County Results:
- Andrew Warren defeated Mark Ober for State Attorney, in the 13th judicial circuit.
- Shawn Harrison defeated Lisa Montelione for District 63 in the State House.
- Pat Frank defeated Eric Seidel for Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller.
- Sandra Murman defeated Jeff Zampitella for District 1 of the Hillsborough County Commission.
- Pat Kemp defeated Tim Schock for District 6 of the Hillsborough County Commission.
- Bob Henriquez defeated Todd Donovan Jones for Hillsborough County Property Appraiser.
- Tamara Shamburger defeated Joe Jordan Robinson for District 5 of the Hillsborough County School Board.
- Lynn Gray defeated Cathy James for District 7 of the Hillsborough County School Board (Pending a recount).
Regarding the four Constitutional Amendments on the ballot, a majority of Pasco and
Hillsborough voters weighing in on those issues agreed with the majority of voters across the state to decide the outcomes.
They voted down an amendment relating to solar power.
They approved amendments regarding medical marijuana, a tax exemption for totally and permanently disabled first responders, and a homestead tax exemption for certain senior, low-income and long-term residents.
—Laker/Lutz News staff writers Kathy Steele and Kevin Weiss contributed to this report.
Published November 16, 2016