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County loses in Stearns race

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

Regardless of how you feel about U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, there was one thing that could be said for him.
He was from Ocala and gave Marion County its own representative on Congress.
The loss last week in the Republican Primary eliminated Stearns from contention and, because of redistricting, means that Marion County will no longer have a representative in Congress from here.
That doesn’t seem right for a county that’s 15th in the state in population and third in area (behind Collier and Polk).
A recent editorial in a Lakeland newspaper criticized the redistricting plan that split Polk County into four Congressional districts. But Polk has an incumbent representative who had no opposition.
Marion is split among three Congressional districts, and none of the finalists is from our county.
In District 3, Ted Yoho from Gainesville, who eliminated both Stearns and Steve Oelrich in the primary, will face Democrat J.R. Gaillot from Fleming Island in Clay County.
In District 5, incumbent Corrine Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat, will face LeAnne Kolb, a Republican from Orange Park.
In District 11, incumbent Republican Rick Nugent, a Brooksville Republican, will battle H. David Werder, who is from the town of Hudson way down in Pasco County.
Notice, none of these candidates are from Marion County. In fact, none are even close to Marion County, except forYoho.
The ironic thing is that the anti-Stearns forces may not have gained anything, especially if Yoho defeats Gaillot. Yoho is known as a Tea Party backer, and presumably has the same philosophy as Stearns did.
Although stranger things have happened, it’s highly unlikely that Gaillot can take the victory, although he’s probably thrilled not to have to face Stearns or Oelrich.
Our county has been underrepresented in the Florida Senate, although we now have Charlie Stone. Now we won’t have any hometown influence in Congress.
With many people already feeling alienated by government, this only adds to the frustration. We need to find some strong local candidates to run for Congress in 2014. It’s not to early to start thinking ahead.
 

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