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No special elections in Latvala, Hahnfeldt districts

Those living in Pinellas and Pasco counties in Senate District 16 and The Villages in House District 33 will be out of representation until after the November elections.
Suite 201, in the office building at 26133 U.S. Highway 19 North, in Clearwater, was the location of former Florida Senator (REP) Jack Latvala's District 16 office, and remains vacant after Latvala resigned on January 5, 2018, following allegations of sexual harassment and public corruption. [DOUGLAS CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Jan. 18, 2018
Updated Jan. 18, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he will not set special elections to replace former Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and the late Rep. Don Hahnfeldt, R-The Villages, leaving the seats open until November.

Scott said he agreed not to hold special elections after talking with supervisors of elections in the districts of Latvala, who resigned effective Jan. 5 after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, and Hahnfeldt, who died of cancer Dec. 24.

"We have listened to the supervisors of election for both the races," Scott said after a state Cabinet meeting. "Their recommendation is that we don't have the special elections, so we're not. We're going to follow their lead." The two seats, which will be on the November ballot, are among six that are currently vacant in the Legislature.

Even before Scott's decision, election timelines meant that Hahnfeldt's House District 33 seat and Latvala's Senate District 16 seat would be vacant through the ongoing regular legislative session, which is scheduled to end March 9.

House District 33 includes Sumter County and parts of Lake and Marion counties. Senate District 16 includes parts of Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Supervisors of Elections in Pasco and Pinellas told The Buzz on Wednesday that it would cost more than $1 million, combined, to hold a special election.