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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A Tom Lee vs. Bill Galvano Fla Senate primary?



Political junkies in Tampa Bay awaiting the redistricting process to finally wrap up a few months ago chattered about the prospect of an epic GOP primary fight between state Sens. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. The potential for such a battle-for-the-soul-of-the-GOP race seems to have ebbed, while the more common speculation is about another Yuuuuge Republican primary: Tom Lee, R-Brandon vs. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. It's not necessarily likely, but it is plausible and generating a fair amount of anxiety among Republicans.

Floridia's state senate lines remain uncertain, but conventional wisdom now has it that Latvala's district will shift slightly northward (more Republican), while Brandes' district will lose its Hillsborough County component. That would leave Brandes with a competitive, swing district, much as he currently has. It could invite a potential challlenge from state Rep. Dwight Dudley,D-St. Petersburg, but Dudley and any other Democrat would  have to consider whether he or she wants to take on an incumbent who can write himself a multi-million check.

The other  Tampa Bay Florida Senate seat to watch is the one now held by Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, which stretches across Tampa Bay. That heavily Democratic and African-American district, the thinking goes, is likely to stay largely the same and produce a tough primary campaign including Democratic state Reps. Ed Narain of Tampa and Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, and former state Rep. Betty Reed of Tampa.

[Last modified: Friday, December 11, 2015 1:51pm]


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