It's been a controversial four years for Norm Roche on the Pinellas County Commission, and the Republican electorate in Pinellas is turning him out of office in humiliating fashion Tuesday night.
With 287 of 299 precincts reporting, outgoing Clearwater-based state Representative Ed Hooper is leading Roche by 28 percentage points, 64-36 percent.
Although he ran away from being tarred as a Tea Party favorite, Roche was swept into office alongside the GOP tsunami in 2010 after previous unsuccessful runs as a Democrat.
His loss means that Pinellas County has dismissed three of the four commissioners who voted to take fluoride out of the drinking water supply back in 2011. Roche, Neil Brickfield, Nancy Bostock and John Morroni all voted to do so, and only Morroni remains — after he reversed himself and voted to bring fluoride back in 2012. Bostock and Brickfield were turned out in November of 2012 by Democrats Charlie Justice and Janet Long.
But it's by no means a sure thing that Ed Hooper will keep the seat Red in November. Waiting in the wings to take him on will be Largo Mayor Pat Gerard.