Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State Rep. Jeff Brandes files to run for Florida Senate

State Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed to run for the Florida Senate on Friday, setting up a potentially bruising primary that could pit him against either Rep. Jim Frishe, R-St. Petersburg, or Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.

"We need a strong leader to represent south Pinellas. I've shown leadership in the House and I bring a fresh perspective both as a small-business owner and former military officer," said Brandes, 36.

Senate District 22 stretches across south Pinellas, and about a quarter of it is in Hillsborough. While it's a competitive district, no high-profile Democrat has emerged for the seat so far. Democrat Mark Robert Moon filed to run last month.

The deadline for qualifying closes at the end of next week, and it's unclear which veteran legislator will face off against Brandes — Frishe or Latvala. Frishe has planned to run in District 22 and Latvala in the Senate district encompassing north Pinellas, but both said Friday they may switch races.

"Jack and I still have to talk about that some," said Frishe, calling Brandes a "young and ambitious" candidate. "It's a redistricting year, so everybody's got to be a little flexible."

Likewise, Latvala called Brandes a "Johnny-come-lately" with nowhere near the community involvement or legislative experience he or Frishe have.

"But we don't have millions of dollars in our pockets to blow and move up the ladder," he said, referring to Brandes' wealth.

"It's unfortunate that many local Republicans worked their heart out for him to win the House seat just two years ago, when he beat a very loyal guy in the community (Bill Heller) who had a lot of respect in the community just to become another one of those ladder climbers that can't get up the ladder fast enough. I think it's sad."

Brandes' move sets up a potentially competitive race in his northeast St. Petersburg state House district, where Republican former legislator Frank Farkas is considering running and Democrats Dwight Dudley and William Nobles have announced. Republican Daryle Lee Hamel filed to run for the seat in January but has kept a low profile. Matthew Weidner is running without party affiliation.

Adam C. Smith can be reached at

State Rep. Jeff Brandes files to run for Florida Senate 06/01/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 1, 2012 11:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Philippines forces make gains in city under siege by ISIS-linked militants

    MARAWI, Philippines — Philippine forces say they now control most of a southern city where militants linked to the Islamic State group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago.

  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile


    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.