Hernando school board candidate's car set on fire - FOX 13 News

Hernando school board candidate's car set on fire

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The election season is in full swing, which means the campaign attacks are coming fast and furious. 

But rarely do the attacks get the attention of law enforcement detectives, and that's just what is going on in Hernando County.

The race for the Hernando School Board's District Four seat is now the subject of an arson investigation. 

Last week, Gus Guadagnino was taking a break from a long day on the campaign trail.  While taking with friends Guadagnino recalled "...somebody ran in and said ‘there is a car on fire!'" 

Guadagnino said he was startled.  But then "...people ran out and said ‘...Gus it's your car.'" 

His 2007 Infinity SUV is a total loss.  Tuesday, the Hernando Sheriff's Office released surveillance video showing a slender white man in what detectives say is the first stage of the arson.

"It looks like there is a bag of garbage or kindling and he (the suspect) sticks it under the wheel well of the car igniting it," according to Lt. Mike Burzumato. 

Rather than set the bag a-light and take off, Burzumato said the arsonist stayed to make sure the entire car would go up in flames.

"He lights it on fire and stays there for a few minutes until it actually starts to burn," Burzumato said.

It's hard to imagine the arsonist had no idea who owned the car, because there were campaign signs on the driver and passenger side doors.   More campaign signs were in the back of the car where the fire started. 

Thus far, the race for school board has been free from major controversy.  The election is non-partisan.  None of the other three candidates is suspected of any involvement in the arson, according to investigators. 

"I fully support the sheriff's department effort on finding out how it was done and who did it, and I hope they catch the person who did so," fellow candidate Michael Angel Gordon said.

Guadagnino said no policy difference between the candidates would lead him to believe anyone would resort to arson.

"I know who my opponents are. I can't believe they would have anything to do with it," he said.

The school board primary is August 14th. 

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