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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate GOP leaders will support Legg as Latvala's successor



Republican Sen. John Legg of Pasco County has emerged as the odd man out in Tampa Bay's redistricting shuffle in 2016. But he appears to have a path back to Tallahassee -- after a two-year wait.

Legg, who said Tuesday that he won't run against fellow Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson of Trilby, is being positioned as the next senator from the newly-created Pinellas-Pasco district currently held by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who's term limited and cannot run after 2018.

Legg could not be reached for comment Thursday morning, but Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, confirmed that Legg would have the full backing of the Senate GOP's political machinery which Galvano himself will control, as he is slated to be Senate president in 2018.

"If you look at the timing, I will support him in my official capacity," Galvano told the Times/Herald.

Latvala's new district is heavily concentrated in the north half of Pinellas. Under this scenario, Pinellas would lose a hometown senator to its neighbor to the north, and to the extent voters smell any backroom maneuvering to extent Legg's political career, there could be a political backlash in Pinellas.

"I can't speak for them (Pinellas residents). But that's what happens when maps change," Galvano said. "I think the competence of the member overcomes their geographical location."

[Last modified: Thursday, January 14, 2016 11:53am]


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