Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jack Latvala, Jeff Brandes not interested in Rep. C.W. Bill Young's seat

Rep. C.W. Bill Young, Florida’s longest serving member of Congress, is retiring.

Rep. C.W. Bill Young, Florida’s longest serving member of Congress, is retiring.

Give Jack Latvala credit for offering up one of the weightiest questions for today's political era.

"Who wants to be in a job that is rated less favorably than a cockroach?" the Republican state senator from Clearwater asked on Facebook on Thursday, announcing he will not be among those running to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.

Latvala, a seasoned political operative who has represented most of Young's district, would have immediately emerged as a frontrunner. Same goes for state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, who could personally fund a lavish campaign, but also took himself out of the mix Thursday.

"The decision is simple," he said. "I have a young family and think for now I can best serve our region in the Florida Senate."

Meanwhile, the prospect emerged of a campaign pitting the heirs of two giants in Florida politics: Republican Billy Young, the 29-year-old son of Rep. Young, and Democrat Ben Diamond, 35, the grandson of late U.S. Rep. Dante Fascell, who represented Miami-Dade from 1955 to 1993.

"Reading these stories about Congressman Young's retirement makes me think back to my granddad's retirement. There's a reason people call that generation the greatest generation," said Diamond, a lawyer and Clearwater native who served as general counsel to Alex Sink when she was chief financial officer.

"Public service is always something I've aspired to do," said Diamond, who has not made any decisions.

Billy Young, a Pinellas Park resident who works in business development at the National Forensic Science Technology Center, had been preparing to run against Democratic state Rep. Dwight Dudley of St. Petersburg, but said Thursday: "Anything could be a possibility."

The first officially announced candidate is likely to be Nick Zoller, a little-known Republican political consultant, but other prospective Republicans include former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker; Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel; Clearwater mayor and longtime former Young aide George Cretekos; former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard; and former Young aide David Jolly.

Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni, once interested in the job, said he will not run.

Democratic lawyer Jessica Ehrlich is already running for the seat for a second time, and other Democratic prospects include Pinellas County Commissioners Ken Welch, Charlie Justice and Janet Long.

Given the competitiveness of Congressional District 13, which stretches from Dunedin to Fort De Soto Park but excludes much of southern St. Petersburg, the race is likely to be one of the closest watched in the country. The respected, nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report revised its rating for the seat from "Safe Republican" to "Pure Tossup" with Young's retirement announcement.

"It almost goes without saying, but this is the type of seat and race Democrats have to win in order to have any chance of gaining the 17 seats they need in 2014 to get back to the majority," Rothenberg noted.

Contact Adam C. Smith at

Jack Latvala, Jeff Brandes not interested in Rep. C.W. Bill Young's seat 10/10/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013 12:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  2. Today, a total eclipse of the sun will span the entire United States, crossing from the West Coast to the East Coast, for the first time in 99 years. (Dreamstime/TNS)
  3. What is poke? Here's how to make the Hawaiian dish at home


    In Hawaiian, "poke" simply means "to cut."

    Tuna Poke Bowl: For a classic poke bowl, try this recipe with ahi (yellowfin) and only a few other ingredients.
  4. MOSI, SPC, libraries offer safe solar eclipse viewing Monday


    If you couldn't score some of the hard-to-find eyewear that will let you watch Monday's solar eclipse, have no fear, there are safe viewing choices across the Tampa Bay area.

    Twin Falls High School science teachers Ashley Moretti, left, and Candace Wright, right, use their eclipse shades to look at the sun as they pose for a portrait at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. The district bought 11,000 pairs of solar glasses, enough for every student and staff member to view the solar eclipse Aug. 21

(Pat Sutphin/The Times-News via AP)
  5. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone


    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?