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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Saunders wins Dem post -- by 2 votes



Housephotooriginal2160 Rep. Ron Saunders, a Key West Democrat who also represents part of Miami-Dade County, will be the next House Democratic leader, after winning a presession vote Tuesday morning by just two votes.

Saunders defeated Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, in a vote of 23-21.

While the vote was close, it wasn’t contentious. And House Democrats chatted and joked with one another while the ballots were cast. After the vote, Saunders vowed to bring both factions together.

“I want to make sure everyone knows the election is over,” Saunders said. “We’re moving forward as a united team.”

Thurston said he doesn’t have any hard feelings and plans to support Saunders when he takes over.

“People supported him, people supported me and he won,” Thurston said.

Saunders was nominated by Rep. Charles Chesnut, D-Gainesville, with Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, nominating Thurston.

The election ensured that the Democratic leadership post will stay in South Florida for another two years. The previous three minority leaders have been from Dade or Broward counties.

Rep. Priscilla Taylor, D-West Palm Beach, will be Saunders' leader pro tempore.

Breanne Gilpatrick


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:29pm]


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