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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Latvala will run for re-election in Senate District 20

Republican Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater confirms he'll file qualifying papers to run in the redrawn Senate District 20 in North Pinellas. s016.jpg

His decision ends speculation that the longtime Pinellas lawmaker might run in District 22, where first-term Rep. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Jim Frishe will meet in a Republican primary. "I'm going to run in District 20. That's the district I live in," Latvala said Wednesday. The compact district covers all of North Pinellas north of Ulmerton Road. 

He said he has confidence in Frishe's ability to win the open seat. The wealthy Brandes is able to self-finance his campaign, but Latvala said Frishe was outspent by a 3-to-1 margin in 2006 when he won the House seat, and he said "a lot of people are pretty with Jim as a candidate. I think Jim will prevail." 

"He's a lot more into walking precincts than I am," Latvala said of Frishe. "That's just the match I decided to make."

"It was pretty much a joint decision," Frishe said. "We had talked about the possibility" of switching seats, but Frishe's wife Susan, a St. Pete Beach native, was reluctant to go through the hassle of selling their home and moving to a new one. Frishe and Latvala will continue to work closely, as Latvala will serve as Frishe's campaign consultant.

Latvala could still get a Republican primary opponent, as one other candidate has opened a fund-raising account -- but not yet qualified -- in District 20: Zahid Roy of Clearwater.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 12:06pm]


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