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Latvala will stay for four more years // STATE SENATE DISTRICT 19

Incumbent Jack Latvala beat out opponent Sue Humphreys for the northern Pinellas-western Pasco state Senate seat.

"I worked hard for two years, and I was hoping that voters would agree that I needed to go back for a four-year term," Latvala said Tuesday night.

Latvala, R-Palm Harbor, was elected in 1994 to fill a vacancy left by Curt Kiser, who resigned to run for lieutenant governor after serving half his term.

In the months leading up to the election, Humphreys charged that Latvala was professional but "ineffectual" as a legislator. Humphreys, 49, is a real estate broker and volunteer with the League of Women Voters who said she would be dedicated to doing the work of the people.

"I'm not disappointed," she said after a majority of the polls showed Latvala on top. "We ran a good clean race. I think we made Jack run for all he's worth."

Latvala, 44, had at least one advantage: By the end of October, he had raised more than $200,000 in campaign contributions, compared with about $23,000 for Humphreys.

In his two years as senator, Latvala claimed several major accomplishments, including a bill that prevents insurance companies from dropping coverage of people employed at small businesses just because they leave for another job .

He said he will travel to Tallahassee today to work with legislators on continuing reform to the education system and projects to clean up the Everglades.

After that, he said, "I plan to take a vacation."

Humphreys said she will be sleeping in today. But who knows what's in store politically, she said. "I have no idea what God has in mind for my future."

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