Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Race for House seat shaping up

The election is more than a year away, but some prominent people in St. Petersburg already are showing intense interest in the legislative seat now held by Florida House Speaker Peter Wallace.

Margo Fischer, who heads a countywide association of school advisory councils and is married to St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer, is considering running for the seat, according to a political consultant and the Pinellas Democratic chairman. So is Martha Maddux, a former St. Petersburg City Council member. Both women are Democrats.

A Republican candidate, chiropractor Frank Farkas, said he intends to run for the seat.

David and Margo Fischer were on vacation Friday and could not be reached. However, political consultant Mary Repper said she had discussed a possible state House campaign with Margo Fischer this week and "she sounded very positive about the idea."

"I think she would make a tremendous state representative," Repper said, adding, "what a powerhouse it would be with David and her."

Maddux, who served on the City Council from 1983 to 1989, confirmed that she was considering running for the seat, but said she was not yet ready to make an announcement.

Pinellas Democratic Chairman Paul Hitchens said he had talked to both women about running for the seat, but would not say whether either had made a final decision.

Farkas said he intends to run, partly because he thinks government is too intrusive and taxes people too much. He would like to see the government issue fewer mandates, and let local school boards and police departments operate more freely.

"I just don't like the direction of government," Farkas said.

A campaign involving Farkas, Fischer and Maddux would be intriguing for many reasons, among them:

It would be a "battle of Brightwaters" _ all three potential candidates live on Brightwaters Boulevard, a winding street on Snell Isle.

Margo Fischer is a registered Democrat and David Fischer is a registered Republican. That means if there is a Democratic primary, the mayor would not be able to vote for his wife _ unless he changes his party affiliation.

Wallace, a Democrat, has served in his St. Petersburg-area seat since 1982, frequently winning re-election without opposition. But Republicans believe they could win the seat once he leaves. About 44.4 percent of the district's registered voters are Democrats, 43.2 percent are Republicans, and 12.3 percent are independents or members of smaller political parties.

Wallace was on vacation Friday and could not be reached. But he is expected to follow the tradition of other speakers of the House by not seeking re-election after his term as speaker ends. He is frequently touted in political circles as a potential candidate for governor, but has not announced any such plans.

By moving on, Wallace would leave vacant House Seat 52, which includes northeast St. Petersburg, Kenneth City, the Lealman area and part of Pinellas Park.

There is plenty of time for all this to change. The primary will be in September 1996. The general election will follow in November.