State Politics

Upcoming special election to determine who will replace Latvala in Florida Senate

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, listens as senators debate minimum mandatory prison terms for fentanyl trafficking Friday, May 5, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, listens as senators debate minimum mandatory prison terms for fentanyl trafficking Friday, May 5, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee. AP

Sen. Jack Latvala’s abrupt resignation leaves a hole in the Senate. To fill it, a special election will be needed.

The upcoming legislative session will be missing a representative for Florida’s 16th Congressional District, but Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said Gov. Rick Scott will soon determine a date for voters to choose a replacement, Spectrum Bay News 9 reports.

“What’s going to happen now is I’m going to be contacted by the Department of State Division of Election from Tallahassee, who at the request of the governor will schedule a date for both the primary and a general special election to replace Latvala in the 16th District for the Florida State Senate,” said Corley.

But that won’t happen for some time. First, candidates will need to qualify for the election, and early and absentee voting will have to be held.

However, it is up to Scott’s discretion whether the seat will remain vacant until November 2018 or if there will be a special election. If not, more than half a million Pinellas and Pasco voters in the 16th District would be left without representation in the Florida Senate.

Latvala, 66, submitted his resignation letter to Senate President Joe Negron on Wednesday, the day after an investigation found probable cause that he had engaged in “inappropriate and unwanted” verbal and physical contact with a Senate staff member.

His resignation will go into effect Jan. 5 at midnight.

Ryan Callihan: 941-745-7095, @RCCallihan

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