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John Legg wins three-way race in state Senate District 17 to replace Jim Norman

State Rep. John Legg celebrates with his wife, Suzanne, as the results show him with a  commanding lead in the Senate District 17 GOP primary Tuesday night.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

State Rep. John Legg celebrates with his wife, Suzanne, as the results show him with a commanding lead in the Senate District 17 GOP primary Tuesday night.

TAMPA — John Legg is headed to the Florida Senate after winning Jim Norman's old seat covering parts of northwest Hillsborough and central Pasco counties.

A House representative who was the favorite of party leaders, Legg easily defeated former state Rep. Rob Wallace and political newcomer John Korsak, taking nearly 65 percent of votes in the three-way Republican primary race.

Legg won both counties, taking 70 percent of votes in his home county of Pasco and nearly 55 percent in Hillsborough.

He faces no competition in the general election in November. The lone Democrat, Wes Johnson, dropped out of the race just days into early voting. Hillsborough and Pasco Democrats could not field a replacement candidate.

The 37-year-old founder of a Port Richey charter school, Legg was first elected to the House in 2004. Last year, he served as House speaker pro-tem and has been endorsed by a number of prominent Republicans, including former Gov. Jeb Bush, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate leadership.

"I think we ran a textbook plan on campaigning. We didn't react to everything," Legg said. He added that the endorsements "obviously assisted with bringing credibility to our race."

In the House, Legg represented west Pasco but is using his wife's Trinity home to run in Senate District 17.

Wallace, 60, who owns an engineering firm, served in the House from 1994 to 2002 before stepping down due to term limits. He served last year on the board of directors for Citizens Insurance Corp.

Korsak, 40, is a former U.S. Secret Service agent who now runs his own consulting firm. He volunteered at Bush-Cheney transition headquarters and for the McCain-Palin presidential campaign in 2008. His primary issue was fighting what he perceives as federal encroachment into state powers.

Wallace had gone after Legg on the residency issue, saying Legg should resign immediately from the House since he appears to be living now at his wife's home, which is outside his House district. Legg, who had changed his drivers license and voting records to his wife's address, said he was making preparations to move and gotten an okay from the House's general counsel.

Wallace filed an ethics complaint, but the Florida Commission on Ethics said it lacked jurisdiction.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374.

John Legg wins three-way race in state Senate District 17 to replace Jim Norman 08/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 11:56pm]
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