Diverse views highlight Citrus County Commission District 2 race

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The Citrus County Commission District 2 race pits two political newcomers who have a few things in common. Both candidates are Republican women who live in Homosassa. Both own air conditioning companies with their husbands.

The similarities pretty much stop there.

Diana Finegan, who was first in the race, has aligned herself with the far conservative wing of the county Republican Party and is banking on Republicans going that route in the Primary.

Stacey Worthington entered in the race in January, started slow, but eventually outraised Finegan in campaign contributions.

Then there’s this: Paul Grogan, a no-party candidate whose entry in the race closed the Primary to Republican voters only. Grogan is openly supporting Finegan in the Primary, leading some to wonder whether he’ll be a shill opponent if Finegan wins.

Finegan and Worthington have taken dissimilar paths during the campaign.

Worthington, Vice Chairwoman of the Citrus County Planning and Development Commission, spoke about attracting quality growth to a community that saw the Suncoast Parkway, in the works for over 20 years, open to State Road 44 in Lecanto in February.

She suggested tweaks in the county’s formula for repaving residential roads, a contentious issue among citizens, which Worthington says will provide more work where it’s most wanted.

Finegan has focused on taxes. She is opposed to any tax increase, saying the county has millions of dollars in reserves that could be used for programs and services.

Finegan also raised eyebrows when she announced on her campaign Facebook page an endorsement from the Citrus Crusader, an online newsletter owned by Inverness resident John Labriola.

Labriola, who in 2021 lost a job with the Miami-Dade County Commission over published anti-LGBTQ views, led an unsuccessful effort to regulate Citrus County Library displays.

He touts himself as the Citrus County spokesman for MassResistance, a known anti-LGBTQ hate group, and has presented himself as such before the Citrus County Commission.

Two days later, following online criticism, Finegan removed mention of the endorsement from her Facebook page. She hasn’t addressed the endorsement, though she said she agrees with Labriola that library displays should be regulated.

The attention to her campaign didn’t stop there.

Finegan recently posted a photo at an early voting site. Grogan, who had shared Finegan’s campaign information on his Facebook page prior to getting into the race, commented on the photo: “I hope (and pray) you win the primaries.”

Finegan responded: “Wow Paul! I’ve never met an opponent like you. Lol. Thank you for your kindness and prayers. I’m sure our race will be much nicer than the one I’m currently in.”

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