Escambia Co. School Board races – major upsets

September 6, 2006

busDistrict 1 

Two-term Cary Stidham went down as this blog predicted – losing by nearly 1,000 votes to retired teacher Gerald Boone.  Boone 4,743   Stidham 3,772

District 2 

Then Jeff Bergosh – brother of Gary who had held the seat before winning his circuit court judge race – beat two challengers (Todd Leonard and Doug Waters) to avoid a run-off.

Bergosh: 5,110

Leonard: 2,562

Waters: 1,816

District 3 

Claudia Brown-Curry will face Bush-appointee Charles Glover in an run-off in November.  Curry had 3,726 votes, Glover 2,213.  It’s not a good sign for the incumbent to be trailing by 1500 votes going into a primary.

The Independent News had endorsed all top vote-getters in these races.


24 Responses to “Escambia Co. School Board races – major upsets”

  1. Jerry C Says:

    Jim Paul must be smiling broadly this morning. Stidham going down and Jeff holding on to Gary’s seat is huge. With the makeup of the new school board, things should run much more smoothly for Paul.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Sad day for Escambia County Schools. Jeff Bergosh and Jim Paul the winners, Escambia county in general and our schools in particular, the losers.

    Join Jeff and Jim and the Red Carpet Lounge for happy hour, a bikini contest and drag contest tonight.

    Mr. Leonard’s and Mr. Waters’ supporters will be in Wednesday Night prayer meeting tonight.

    Ahhh, thanks Mr. Paul for this fine selection. The children of District 1 have a fine role model in Mr. Bergosh. I can see Mr. Bergosh addressing the student body of Escambia County now:

    “Invest in any ole business boys and girls, be it a gay lounge, a tavern or Wal-mart. In fact, I prefer lounges, they make more money. And, after all kids, turning a profit is the most important thing. Apply yourselves in school and you can be the owner of a place like ‘The Red Carpet Lounge’ as well.”

  3. Rick Outzen Says:

    Your candidate, Todd Leonard, lost. Your bitter comments show why. It’s time to look in the mirror and see the problem.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Bergosh won on name recognition pure and simple. That’s all. Too bad for us. I’ll take Mr. Waters any day over Jeff… sorry if this sounds “bitter”. Just very disappointed in our electorate and feeling real sorry for our kids.

    Have a great day.

  5. Todd Leonard Says:

    I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Jeff Bergosh on his hard-fought victory yesterday in the District 1 race. Obviously Jeff and I have some major differences in educational philosophy that I think need to be debated for the benefit of our community and I will continue to be an advocate for the issues that we raised during this campaign, as I believe that they are foundational in nature. However, the voters have spoken and I personally wish Jeff and his family the very best as he leads the parents, teachers, and students of District 1. Where we agree with him, he can expect our full and unwavering support, and, conversely, where we disagree, we will serve as the wing of principled opposition. Congratulations again to Jeff, his campaign staff, and to all of his supporters for an impressive victory.


    Todd Leonard

  6. Mary Says:

    God’s will has been done.

  7. My Kids' Dad Says:

    Dear Toddites:

    Go back and look at the results, you lost big time. Jeff got 2,548 votes more that Todd, darn near twice as many.

    Doug Waters, who raised and spent 17% of what Todd did, won 5 of 16 precincts and tied one precinct with Todd. Doug pretty much ran a non-existent campaign.

    Face it guys, you went down in flames!!

    You fired the Red Carpet gun numerous times without effect, you threatened the superintendent and Jeff’s other supporters, you tried to rally the churches… but they all saw through your mean spirited lying attacks.

    Todd’s campaign was pathetic. First it was intelligent design, than it was blasting and belittling the teachers and students, then it was lies and personal attacks agianst Jeff and his family. It didn’t work.

    You people are sick and small minded. Please do us a favor and crawl back under the rocks from whence you came, that is until you come out to go stand on the street corners downtown and accuse everyone of being sinners and going to Hell. (That’s real effective too)

    I tell you what, why don’t one of you guys run against Mr. Paul in a couple of years instead of making all of these veiled threats, that will be a hoot.

    One last thing before I close. As for name ID, that does play into the victory, but that does not alone insure a victory. Don’t belive me… go ask Cary Stidham, (2 term incumbent – lost big), Tom Banjanin, (life-long incumbent – lost big), John DeWitt, (2 term incumbent – lost big), Finklestein, (1 term incumbent – lost). It’s not just the name, its the candidate, the message, and the campiagn. That’s why Todd lost.

    This is my last post re: this race. If you guys want to continue to post your fantaisies and conspiracies, have at it. I have much more important things to do.

  8. blah Says:

    My Kid’s Dad-

    Good observations- I am impressed with your comebacks on incumbents who did lose. It is hard for incumbents to lose and when they do, one should look at the WHOLE situation. I am currently working in a state rep race, the guy is an incumbent and he won the primary, and he will win the general. My candidate is a freakin rock star, his poll numbers in his district are AMAZING. He polls under the Gov in name approval and just above Sen. Martinez, so I personally know the advantage having name ID in a race. This being said, lets break down your examples-

    Stidham- She has been a pain in the @ss to JP for years. Her opponent raised more money and sent more mailers. Yes she had name ID but she was beaten by more money. That is the correct solution to beat an incumbent. This is main reason people cannot beat entrenched names, thy opponent cannot raise money, it generally is sucked up. Ask Steve Sharp, he will tell you this as well- But….I can concede this one to you…it hard to rationalize it to fit my thinking-

    Banjanin- Grover Robinson???? he didn’t have name ID???? In case you are new here, or you reside under the same rock that the ever loving “lifelong friend” keeps talking about- Grover Robinson has name ID b/c of his dad. Heck, I even voted for him, I was tired of TB, it had nothing to do with Grover’s message, but I finally had a chance to vote against TB and for a legit candidate. The last ones against TB were not that impressive-

    DeWitt- Of course he was an incumbent, but his negatives were as high as his positives (polling terms)-Ms. Hightower ran an impressive campaign, in fact she even had a sign in Mr and Mrs Scarborough’s yard, well..until joe found out about it. She flooded us with mailer and she raised more money again…the right recipe.

    Finklestein- 5th district- what name polls better? Finklestein or Aggie Gindhl Stadium? Her race….Gindhl had higher name ID

    Your observations on Todd’s campaign are slightly scewed. His attempts were not to make seperate attacks of ID then the teacher/admin lack of confidence. These were over exposed on this blog, and yall spun it to fit your close minned view on alternate thinking. As a campaign manager, I am impessed that yall could effectively spin it to fit the closemindness of people, so kudos to you. As for the lies and personal attacks on Jeff and his family. First of all- when you can show visual proof to back up your statements (docs, Liquor Licenses, police records…etc) it is not a lie. It is the burden of the accuser to then explain why the docs are saying something different then their words. Jeff and his brother did not take that approach, they made personal calls to people, assassinating the reputation of one of Todd’s friends??!!!??? Gary did prove to be the better man and talked with Todd’s friend face to face and the converastion ended well.

    I still would like to hear your counter…please find time in your schedule

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Gary has a good reputation. No one denies that. Myself a former Marine, I voted for Gary as school board member. I’d vote for him again. Many people thought they were voting for Gary, I’m sure. Many people were voting for the guy on the sign with his uniform on. They couldn’t remember whether it was Gary of Jeff. They simply knew that he was a Marine. And people around here like Marines.

    Likening Bergosh to Stidham is stupid. The said thing is that I wish I could tell my kids that their school board rep is a Marine. Can’t do that though. They’ve got “Tavern Enterprises’s” part owner (the other part is his wife) instead.

    I’m surprised Mr. Waters (who ran for much longer than Mr. Leonard and Mr. Bergosh) didn’t do better. He garnered 40%+ of the vote against Gary (who got 60 something percent) last time. Mr. Leonard had a tough row to hoe. Running against two names who received 40 and 60 percent of the vote was not easy, especially when Gary was so popular (which is evidenced by his win), was a near impossible task. But, with another week or two to campaign and to show that Jeff is no Gary, the result would have been different.

    Gary will serve us well and will be a good role model for our children. Jeff may do okay. But, he is certainly not the kind of role model, nor the kind of man we need on the school board. I’m sorry that you cannot see that. Very sad indeed.

    Private school enrollment will continue to rise, while public school enrollment continues to decline. Sad day for Escambia County Schools.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    By the way, what “lies and personal attacks against Jeff and his family” are you referring to. No one disputes that he is the owner of the Red Carptet Lounge. No one disputes that his company is called “Tavern Enterprises”. You may dispute whether it is relevant or true to call it a “gay lounge”, but, you cannot deny that it is a lounge and a gay lounge for that matter.

  11. Pensacola Pete Says:


    Please give it up. Your guy lost. Go be a gay bashing fanatic elsewhere.

    Thank You,

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Still waiting… what “lies and personal attacks?”

  13. Mary Says:

    We all prayed for God’s will be done in the school board race. I am so thankful to Him and thankful that He still works in mysterious ways.

    God bless all those elected and for those that lost, I pray that you will find peace and comfort in knowing that our prayers have been answered.

  14. Tom Says:

    Some priceless quotes from the Tolerant crowd like My Kid’s Dad and others, whose tolerance and gentleness are commendatory:

    “your mean spirited lying attacks” – the truth was told plain and simple.

    “You people are sick” Yes, but Christ came to heal the sick. Problem is, you don’t think you are sick. Therefore, it appears that you remain un-healed by Christ.

    “and small minded.” Small minded? Because we ran on principal? Because, we had a Christ-centered platform? So… were the founders “small-minded”? We’ll stand with the founders, and you feel free to stand with the anything-goes-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-hurt-anybody-else” crowd.

    “crawl back under the rocks from whence you came,” My Kid’s Dad, you sound as though you’d like to burn us at the stake! Shall I carry my bundle of faggots while you stoke the fire?

    “stand on the street corners…and accuse everyone of being sinners and going to Hell.” Well, we don’t stand on the street corners and the tactics of those who do are largely detrimental (but, hey we are talking about it, and you are thinking about it, so…maybe we should re-evaluate). However, the scriptures clearly say that “all men have sinned and fallen short” of God’s holy standard (Rom 3:23) and sit under the threat of God’s wrath (John 3:35 and many others). So, we are all sinners and on our way to hell. We need to be rescued by the hand of God. Again, we simply urge all men and women to repent and seek the Lord while he may be found.

    Well, I’m sure you are busy doing more important things. So, My Kid’s Dad, just in case you are reading, have a great day.

    As far as running against Mr. Paul is concerned, we hope he institutes serious reform in our Schools. If he does, we’ll support him for another term. If he doesn’t, well, we’ll be looking for someone to oppose him.

    God bless,


  15. David Says:


    Give it up. Your guy lost thanks to all the help you gave him during the campaign. Of course, you just don’t get it do you?

  16. Tom Says:


    We know Jeff won. This discussion has moved way beyond that. Just responding to the hate-filled rhetoric above, that’s all. I don’t know how many times I have to say this, I’m not Todd’s campaign manager. I think you are talking about Tom the campaign manager when you refer to “all the help you gave him”. I certainly walked a few neighborhoods and posted on this blog, but that’s about it.

    I get it…

    David, hope you have a great Monday.


  17. Anonymous Says:

    Hey did Todd ever catch up on his late child support payments? And how do run a “christ-centered platform” with a candidate that is divorced and his exwife has to take him back to court twice for failing to pay to support his children? All the info is here if you don’t believe it.

  18. David Says:


    I was referring to you. This blog has no real influence on the voters of Escambia County, so why expend any energy here responding to negative comments? You were not a help. Certain things shouldn’t be stirred!

  19. Tom Says:


    Why don’t you name yourself? Your statements are slanderous and untrue… that’s why. A few words on a court docket are easily misinterpreted. I’d do a bit more investigation before I make such an ignorant statement. You’ll notice on your link that there was a “CREDIT” recorded in the official record to indicate the ongoing payment of child support. Lines 21-23 explain the issue clearly to the most casual unbiased observer. You can search the “District One” blog if you want further explanation, or just call Todd. He’d welcome a conversation with you.

    So, that ends that. Now on to more important issues.

    I’m wondering if you know Christ at all? If not, how can you make a judgement as to whether something is “Christ-centered” or not? If you are a Christian, I’m assuming you’ve personally contacted Todd Leonard to inquire into these issues, for, if you are a Christian, that is what you are “required” by scripture to do before doing anything else (Matt 18).

    Two last questions for Anonymous… “Who do you say Christ is (Matt 16:13-15)?

    And do you believe that one can be in true fellowship with God only through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son (John 14:6)?

    Looking forward to reading your thoughtful answers to these two questions.


  20. Tom Says:


    I guess I don’t get it. I agree that this blog has no real influence on the voters. So, when you say my guys lost “thanks to all the help” I gave him, what do you mean? It sounds like you are saying that, because I blogged… he lost! So, are you saying that this blog DOES have an effect on voters? I “still don’t get it”?

    And when you say, “Certain things shouldn’t be stirred”, to what are you referring. I’m not sure what I “stirred”. Please clarify.


  21. Back Room CIgar Smoking Insider Says:

    Mr. Blah:

    Regarding the SOE race a couple of years ago.

    Stafford had major name ID – well known established family in Pensacola, plus he had been Joe Scarborough’s, (one of the most popular elected officials in the history of NW FL), chief of staff.

    Stafford had money.

    Stafford had Joe strongly endorsing him – phone calls, radio ads, etc.

    That would be a tough campaign for anyone to run against.

    You and Anonymous attempt to rationalize the spanking Todd recived last week. Yet you make arguments against your own proposition on why Bergosh won. The final outcome is you had a weak candidate with a weak campaign team/strategy.

  22. Back Room CIgar Smoking Insider Says:

    Mr. Blah:

    One other point. The word on the street is that the person who ran Jeff’s campiagn also ran his brother’s race, as well as the winning Boone campaign. Pretty good record, 3 for 3.

  23. Tantrum Says:

    See if y’all can spot who this Motley Crew is…

    Character #1. Former salesman of rings and yearbooks, with anger management issues, and a history of not doing so well in major universities, and in marriages, for that matter.
    Excellent role model for children! even though most of the violence and anger happened ten years ago. A great fellow indeed!

    Stooge #1.Hack insurance peddler–heavy drinker—of kool aide. busy body wanna be political “mover and shaker” campaign manager type, but overall washed up loser not to be taken seriously.

    Stooge #2. (AKA keyboard lightning) Wanna be real estate salesman blogging fanatic scripture quoting kool aide drinking lunatic. Former “Baby Blue Marine”–definitely compensating for something with his over the top scripture quotations. He’ll probably end up before his congregation (like swaggert and others we’ve seen) saying, crying, “brothers I have sinned…” Here s a Question for you. Would you sell that expensive beach listing to a gay couple, if it was gonna be an easy, all cash deal, with a big fat commission check for you? Too many questions…..

    Stooge #3 I’m a dummy. I drive van around like dummy and show up and ask dumb questions because I’m dumb. beat up on ex-wives, yeah thats okay, we can rationalize it through scripture, brother. Even though I’m a dummy, I can still drive my van around and do small dumb jobs like the dummy I am.

    Dork 1. Angry young man with flat top.

    Dunce 1. “I like to give sermons from Ephesians, “Living a peaceful life”. I am a minister from pace. I belittle others, and started something I could not finish. Then i scurry back into the shadows like a girl. Instead of starting something I could not finish, perhaps I should have followed my own advice from my own sermon “peaceful life, baby” Ephesians.

    Figure it out yet? Here is a hint…This is the group of perfect people, God’s golden little perfect children who are perfect in every way and never make mistakes and can rationalize “anything” through scripture to make themselves feel like the perfect people they are, All the while condemning the rest of us to Hell. Wow!!! Scary!!


  24. nana Says:

    Now, I’ve been following the discussion on this blog for awhile, and I normally don’t post, so sorry but maybe you could help me. Is this group of people you describe real? Who are they? I hope they are not anywhere near children, because they could really be a bad influence on our precious young kids


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