As you may know, Governor Crist State Senator appointed State Senator Nancy Argenziano to a position on the Florida Public Service Commission. Today is her last day as a Senator. When a state legislator resigns, the Governor must call for a special election to fill the unexpired term.
Her resignation opened the door for two sitting House members, State Representative Charlie Dean and State Representative Dennis Baxley, to run for the Senate seat. Since these members knew there would be a special election, and their current term would overlap, they are required to resign from their respective offices. Thus, Governor Crist has to call two special elections for their seats as well.
With these dominoes, Governor Charlie Crist has issued Executive Orders calling for Special Elections in Senate District 3, House District 24, and House District 43. The primary election will be held on June 5th. The general election will be held on June 26th.
As of post time, the current officially-filed candidates for the seats are:
Senate District 3:
House District 24:
House District 43:
- Susan Kirk (REP)
- Ron Schultz (REP)
- Winn Webb (REP)
- Michael White (REP)
- Sophia Diaz-Fonseca(DEM)
- Amy Endsley (DEM)
- Patricia Kittlman (DEM)
It will be interesting to watch these races, especially the campaign spending in Senate District 3. Representatives Baxley and Dean are prohibited by House rules from raising money during the Legislative Session, which ends Friday. However, they can loan or contribute themselves. The last campaign report period ended on March 31st.
At that time Rep. Baxley reported loaning his campaign $101,500. Richard Corcoran, an attorney who previously worked for the Florida House in Speaker Marco Ruibo’s office, raised more than $185,000 in just over two weeks. Rep. Dean raised $41,500 before the Legislative Session. (Of all the other candidates listed above, only Michael White started his campaign before the March 31st deadline, and loaned himself $100 to start his campaign.)
So far, Republicans and Democrats are 1-1 in special elections this year: the Republicans won House District 3 in Pensacola, and the Democrats won House District 49 in Orlando. The House District 49 seat marks a net gain of one for the Democrats, on top of the net gain of seven State House seats in November 2006.
It will be an interesting May and June in an off-election year.