John Legg to kick off Pasco Superintendent campaign next month

Florida Politics | By Peter Schorsch | March 20, 2023

Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson gets top billing on the host committee.

Republican former Sen. John Legg is holding a kickoff party next month in his campaign for Pasco Superintendent.

According to the fundraiser invite, many of the biggest names in Pasco County politics will attend the fundraiser, scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 20 at Phi Delta Kappa Hall, 11301 Phi Delt Way, in Odessa.

Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson gets top billing on the host committee. Before he was elected to statewide office, Simpson represented Pasco in the state Senate for a decade, including as the Senate President for the 2020-22 term.

Other bolded names at the top of the list include county Sherriff Chris Nocco, Tax Collector Mike Fasano, former House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Richard Corcoran, a former House Speaker and Education Commissioner who was recently named interim President at New College of Florida.

Further down the list are former House Speaker and current USF Trustee Will Weatherford, Sens. Danny Burgess and Ed Hooper, Rep. Brad Yeager, former Rep. Ardian Zika and former Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore, who recently accepted a position at major lobbying firm The Southern Group.

Legg served in the state Senate from 2012-16, exiting after one term due to reapportionment placing him in the same district as Simpson. Legg also served in the state House from 2004-12, including a term as House Speaker Pro Tempore.

Relevant to his bid for Superintendent, Legg is a former school administrator and classroom teacher who holds a doctorate in education program development as well as a master’s in public administration from the University of South Florida. He also chaired the Senate K-12 Education Committee for four years.

He is running to succeed third-term Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning, who announced last year he would not run for re-election in 2024.

Legg was the first candidate to enter the Superintendent race, though Republican Michelle Mandarin and no-party candidate Chris Dunning have since joined the fray. Legg has so far raised nearly $150,000 for his campaign compared to about $4,400 for Dunning and $0 for Mandarin.

The early stretch of his campaign has seen many of the area’s elected leaders offer their endorsements. In addition to those listed on the fundraiser invite, Legg has earned support from U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, state Rep. Randy Maggard, Property Appraiser Mike Wells, Pasco County Commissioners Gary BradfordKatheryn StarkeySeth Weightman and Jack Mariano as well as Pasco School Board members Megan Harding and Al Hernandez.

The Superintendent election will be on the November 2024 ballot. The fundraiser invitation is below.

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