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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Former state Rep. Ed Hooper to run for Senate seat



Disappointed by behind-the-scenes maneuvering that would grease the wheels for Sen. John Legg to succeed Sen. Jack Latvala in 2018, a former state representative has launched his bid for the same Tampa Bay seat.

Ed Hooper mailed his campaign candidacy papers to the Division of Elections on Tuesday, he said, saying he wants to give voters a chance to choose their own candidate instead of having one chosen for them.

"Voters are intelligent enough to make the decision that is best for them," the Clearwater Republican said. "There are some people that have been very successful at buying their election in this state, and I'm not one of those, and I'm proud of that."

Hooper said Florida's recent redistricting quagmire sparked his interest in running.

Legg, of Pasco County, was drawn into the same district as Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson, who is poised to become Senate president in 2020. Legg said he wouldn't challenge Simpson.

Another possibility emerged for Legg, though: He would leave the Senate, wait two years, then aim for Latvala's seat, which opens in 2018 and spans northern Pinellas and western Pasco counties. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said he would support Legg in that bid.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 7:52pm]


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