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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

With Costello departure, Sprowls appears to have the votes for 2020 speakership



Fred costelloWith Ormond Beach state Rep. Fred Costello making it official Thursday that he will run for the congressional district being vacated by U.S. Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, the 2020 House speakership looks like it could be going to Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor.

"If nobody on Chris' team gets out, and he keeps all the people that he has, then he wins the vote of our class,'' Costello said late Thursday in an interview. Costello had supported Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, but the vote now appears to be 10-8 in favor of Sprowls, 32, a lawyer, multiple sources told the Herald/Times.

"That's one of the things that I genuinely feel badly about,'' said Costello, a former Ormond Beach mayor, referring to his early exit from the state Legislature. "I love the Eric Eisnaugle team but I genuinely love all the freshman in our class.'' 

Costello, 65, was first elected to the House in 2014 and said he decided last week to run for Congress, setting up a clash with former New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer, whom he said is a friend.

Barringer called Costello on Monday and asked if he was running, Costello said.

"I said yes and he told me 'Great. I'm going to get out of the race and I'm going to get behind you,'' Costello recounted. "He said: 'Fred you can win this race but if I'm in this race we split the vote...if I support you, we can win this race."

Costello said he was grateful for the gracious endorsement by Barringer on Thursday, who had raised more than $250,000 and received the endorsements of 12 of 16 mayoral endorsements. Costello then made his candidacy official.

Costello said he  decided to run a week ago after former Republican Congresswoman Sandy Adams said she would not seek to return to the post.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 14, 2016 8:08pm]


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