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Republican pals to vie for Crist's Senate seat

Could there be a little pre-emption going on?

State Rep. Kevin Ambler, R-Lutz, who has already filed to run for re-election this year, also filed Tuesday to run for the state Senate in 2010. He will seek the seat occupied by Victor Crist, R-Tampa, who has to leave then due to term limits.

Interesting thing, his longtime pal and fellow Republican, Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman, was planning to file for the same Senate seat today. Norman has made clear for years that he plans to run for the seat.

“It's all rather unique here," Norman said. "I don't know how it got out that I was filing (today), but I guess word got out."

The Senate seat held by Crist takes in parts of Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

Ambler said he simply wanted to clear up any doubts about his political ambitions by being the first to file for 2010.

"We expect our legislators to plan for the budgets of the future. … Why shouldn't I be up front and forward about showing that I have an intent in continuing in public service?" asked Ambler, whose only 2008 challenger so far is independent Adam Phinney of Citrus Park.

As part of the prospective musical chairs, Crist is widely expected to run for Norman's seat on the County Commission.

Ex-council member plans run for House

Shawn Harrison, who represented North Tampa on the Tampa City Council for eight years, says he's considering running for the Florida House seat held by Ed Homan in 2010.

Homan has filed to run this year for re-election. He would serve a fourth, and final, two-year term in the House, thanks to term limits.

"I'm taking a good look at District 60, and that probably would necessitate a move," Harrison said.

Harrison, a 43-year-old Tampa lawyer, lives in Hunter's Green, near the boundary of Districts 60 and 61. The District 61 seat is held by Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel, a friend of Harrison's.

Harrison, a Republican who lost his race a year ago for a citywide City Council seat, said he plans to decide by year's end whether to take the plunge.

Times staff writers Bill Varian,

Bill Coats and David DeCamp

contributed to this report.

Republican pals to vie for Crist's Senate seat 04/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 3, 2008 11:15am]
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