It was a landslide for one first-time Lutz Guv’na hopeful.
Jessica Sherman of Pinch A Penny was voted the winner of the Lutz Guv’na Debate, at the Old Lutz School on May 20.
She also claimed the debate’s talent contest, appealing to “voters” with her dancing skills (and baked goods).
And, she earned a $100 campaign donation for bringing the most guests — by far— to the fun-filled shindig.
The other candidates — incumbent Greg Gilbert of Beef O’ Brady’s and Kori Rankin of Kori Rankin Photography — had their moments, too.
Gilbert created arguably the best slogan: “Hang up your boots in Lutz.”
Rankin, meanwhile, displayed her superior athleticism, dominating a cow chip-throwing contest.
The annual affair isn’t your typical “political” debate.
Besides answering satirical questions from the crowd, the trio squared off in several entertaining competitions, ranging from a costume contest to alligator watermelon-carving.
There also was a makeshift field sobriety test — blowing and tying a “breathalyzer” balloon while traversing along a zigzagged line.
Sherman and Rankin passed with relative ease.
“Apparently happy hour at Beef O’ Brady’s is before 2 o’ clock,” emcee Paul Vahue quipped.
The amusement didn’t stop there.
As usual, the question-and-answer portion of the debate elicited the most reaction, thanks to candidates’ exorbitant promises and guarantees.
To appeal to the women vote, Gilbert proposed free massages for women “at least once a week.”
So did Rankin’s suggestion to offer “unlimited wine.”
Candidates also tackled several pressing issues, including: what new law should be passed for Lutz?
Without hesitation, Rankin said, “No more construction.”
Gilbert advocated for a motorcycle ban “at least once a week” to keep Lutz peaceful.
Sherman instead focused her attention on the area’s economy — ensure 90 percent of Lutz businesses are locally owned.
Another hot-button topic was addressed: Canadian snowbirds sneaking into Lutz.
“Build a wall,” Rankin answered, assuredly.
“Laser beams,” Sherman said.
Gilbert, however, seemed more welcoming of northern migrants.
“Why not invest in a hockey team in Lutz?” he asked.
Other questions— “Why did the chicken cross the road?” and “Who’s the biggest liar?” also generated plenty of laughs throughout the debate.
The afternoon’s silliness was all done in an effort for candidates to drum up as much support as they could, hoping to raise as much money as possible for their “campaigns,” which ultimately go to benefitting several nonprofits and local organizations.
The annual Guv’na Race fundraiser continues through the Fourth of July weekend, where the winner is announced, and earns the coveted “sash” and honorary title from the prior year’s winner.
The race, which started in 1991, is sponsored by the Lutz Civic Association.
It typically raises several thousand dollars for about 20 beneficiaries.
Dignitaries at Saturday’s event included volunteers from Steinbrenner High School, the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club, and representatives from the Old Lutz School and the Lutz Civic Association.
For more information on getting involved or participating in Guv’na fundraising events, contact Greg Gilbert at (248) 444-7320 or , Jessica Sherman at (813) 362-1085 or , or Kori Rankin at (813) 476-3718 or .
Published May 24, 2017