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Field to replace Senator Detert in Florida Senate grows

The race to replace state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, in the Florida Legislature just got a little more crowded.

Though Detert still has not officially filed to run in 2016 for a county commission seat back in Sarasota, GOP contenders are banking on her doing that soon and are filing to run for her seat.

The latest to enter the contest is Nora Patterson, a Republican who has spent 24 years in public office, first as a city commissioner then as a county commissioner.

Patterson joins a GOP field that already includes current State Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, and former state Rep. Doug Holder, R-Osprey. State Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, also filed to run, but decided earlier this summer to abandon that run and instead seek another term in the Florida House.

Patterson is aiming to bill herself as a fiscal conservative with deeper ties in the community. In her press release announcing her candidacy, Patterson notes she has lived in the community for 45 years, a contrast to Steube, who became a Sarasota resident after he was elected to the Florida House in 2010.

Detert, who has been in the Senate since 2008, has said she is seriously interested in running for the Sarasota County commission in 2016. Her present term in the Florida Legislature run until 2018, so if Detert runs, it would result in her seat opening up and resulting in a special election to fill out the remainder of her term.