Ocala key battleground in new dist. 8 senate seat between Bruno and Hukill in November elections

Dist 8 senate demographics

Florida dist 8 Senate SeatFrank BrunoDorothy HukillFrank Bruno and Dorothy Hukill are vying for the newly created dist. 8 state senate seat in the Nov. 6 general elections. The top graphic shows the demographics of the district and the highlighted area on the map shows the territory.

OCALA -- It could be an election horse raise to the finish between Democrat Frank Bruno and Republican Dorothy Hukill in the newly-dawn dist. 8 state senate seat that comprises parts of Marion, Lake and Volusia counties.

After all, Ocala, the Marion County seat, is "horse capital of the world" and its motto is "God be with us."

With those all-American labels, the city of Ocala is the ideal place for a good ol'-fashioned political battle in the November general elections between Democrat Frank Bruno and Republican Dorothy Hukill for the newly created dist. 8 state senate seat.

Indeed it will be. More than a third of the district's population is from Marion County and Ocala, with 56,517 residents is its largest community.

Bruno and Hukill may not be household names to Ocalans, but the two contenders in the county seat for Marion County and a community known nationally for its scenic horse farms.

Bruno, 65, a printer by trade who lives in Ponce Inlet, is the face of Volusia County government as its county chair, having served two consecutive four-year terms in the leadership post and 20 years altogether as an elected county official.

Hukill, 65, and former Port Orange mayor, is a fixture in Tallahassee politics as the representative for the 28th dist. in the Florida House of Representatives. First elected in 2004, she was re-elected in 2006 and 2008. 

Both are term-limited in their respective elective offices.

A recent poll has the two in a "dead heat" as of mid-August, though St. Peters Blog writes, "The newly redrawn district includes Volusia, Marion and Lake counties and can be categorized as a tossup seat that is winnable for a Democratic candidate. The new poll from Hamilton Campaigns shows several factors working in Bruno’s favor."

The blog continues, "Bruno has higher name identification than Hukill in the district, 36 to 25 percent." It concludes: "However, after voters hear biographical information followed by positive and negative messages about each candidate, Bruno opens up a +8 percentage point lead."

The Hukill camp thinks otherwise, pointing to a straw poll earlier this month in Leesburg that says just the opposite.

Dorothy Hukill wrote on her Facebook campaign page on Aug. 3: "Another big straw poll victory - this time we took 76% of the vote at the Lake County Election Hob Nob! A big thank you to all of our supporters...we're on a roll now!"

Bruno on Thursday scoffed at the straw poll results, saying, "It was taken in Leesburg, which is not even in the new senate district."

Both are on the same page, however, on the need to cut state spending while looking for ways to encourage job growth.

"The private sector, not government, creates jobs, Hukill said, adding state lawmakers should "primarily focus on making it easier for businesses to bring quality jobs to our communities."

Bruno said cutting the red tape of bureaucracy will attract new businesses and allow existing businesses to grow and that in turn will "provide (for) job creation."


Ocala, FLOcala map

Ocala is located near the site of Ocale or Ocali, a major Timucua village and chiefdom during the 16th century. The modern city takes its name from the historical village, the name of which is believed to mean "Big Hammock" in the Timucua language.[7] Hernando de Soto passed through Ocale during his famous expedition through what is today the southeastern United States in 1539. Ocale is not mentioned in any later accounts; it appears to have been abandoned in the wake of de Soto's attack.
In the 20th century, Ocala increased in prominence as a center for tourism in Florida. Important attractions included the Silver Springs Nature Theme Park, Wild Waters water park, and the now-defunct Western-themed Six Gun Territory, all in nearby Silver Springs.
The first thoroughbred horse farm in Florida was created by Carl G. Rose in 1943. Earlier, in 1916, Rose had come to Florida from Indiana to oversee the first asphalt road ever constructed in the state. When he ran into problems with the asphalt, he improvised with one of Florida's abundant resources: limestone. He also realized that the limestone would be a good source of nutrition for raising strong horses, so he took a gamble in 1943 and bought acreage along SR 200 at $10 per acre, which became Rosemere Farm.
In 1956, the Ocala area Thoroughbred industry received a boost when Needles became the first Florida-bred to win the Kentucky Derby. In 1978, Marion County-bred and -raised Affirmed won the Triple Crown. Today, Marion County is one of the major thoroughbred centers of the world, with over 1,200 horse farms in total and about 900 thoroughbred farms totaling some 77,000 acres.
There are some 44,000 jobs created by the breeding, training and related support brought about by the equine industry that generates over $2.2 billion in annual revenue. Source: Wikipedia.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com, launched April 7, 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with scores of regional, state & national journalism-industry awards for nearly 100 breaking news & investigative reporting stories in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut.
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