TAMPA — State Rep. Rich Glorioso said Thursday he will remain in the campaign for Hillsborough County elections supervisor, bypassing an unexpected state Senate race to replace Ronda Storms.
"It was a tough decision that we had to make," he told the Tampa Bay Times.
But Glorioso, R-Plant City, said the role of elections supervisor fits in with his experience in the military and Florida House.
"It's a circle," he said. "You've defended the Constitution, you've served under the Constitution, and now you go right to the basics of the Constitution."
Glorioso, 68, took several days to consider his options. A former Plant City commissioner, he reached his term limit in the state House this year after serving since 2004. He filed to run for elections supervisor in October.
He had set aside ambitions of being elected to the state Senate, thinking Storms would hold her seat. But Storms, R-Valrico, last week abandoned her re-election campaign to challenge Rob Turner in the Hillsborough County property appraiser's race.
Turner admitted to the Times last week that he sent dozens of pornographic emails to his human resources director, whom he later fired.
Other politicians quickly stepped in to run for Storms' Senate spot, a district that was recently reconfigured to include the University of South Florida area, Brandon, Plant City and Sun City Center.
State Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, and former state Senate President Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican, have both declared they are entering the race. State Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Temple Terrace, is considering joining but said Thursday that he was still undecided.
Glorioso is staying away from what's shaping up to be a highly competitive primary in that race.
The current elections supervisor, Earl Lennard, is not running again. The job pays more than $126,000 a year.
Democrats Craig Latimer and Thomas Scott have announced they, too, will run for the elections supervisor seat.
Records show Glorioso's campaign has raised more than $30,000. Glorioso said he wants to encourage high school students to register to vote and better understand the elections process.
He also targeted voter fraud as a concern, saying he would look for preventative measures to keep voter records clean of people who are deceased or not legally allowed to vote.
In the House, Glorioso advocated for foster children and passed bills giving rights to unaccompanied youths and grandparents caring for grandchildren. He also pushed in his first two years to mandate civics lessons throughout elementary, middle and high school.
Times staff writer Alex Zayas contributed to this report. Stephanie Wang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2443.