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COMMITTEE OF 2 TO REPLACE TRAVIESA

TAMPA

Timing can mean a lot in life, particularly in politics.

Take District 56. At the start of the week, it looked as if state Rep. Trey Traviesa was cruising to re-election.

But when he announced Tuesday he was dropping out, it left a void for Republicans. If Traviesa had done this before June 21, there would have been time for other registered Republicans to enter the race.

Because he announced after the June 21 qualifying deadline, state law says the task of replacing Traviesa on the general election ballot falls to an obscure committee of Republicans.

So, instead of 40,000 registered Republicans deciding among an open field, three unelected people unknown to the general public will pick the Republican nominee in a heavily conservative district.

In other words, whoever these three people choose stands a good chance of getting elected to represent a district that stretches east from Davis Islands.

And it doesn't even look as though three people will decide. One of the committee members, lawyer A.J. Matthews, is in the Coast Guard. He'll be out of the country until the end of August. By then, the two other members, David Storck and Carol Carter, will have made a decision.

"It's a very unique situation," said Mark Proctor, an eastern Hillsborough County political consultant.

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