Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom will step down

Republican House Speaker Ray Sansom has announced he will resign his position, turning the reins of power to Republican Larry Cretul.

From the Tallahassee Press Corp:

St. Petersburg Times (The Buzz):

Besieged by criticism and facing criminal and ethical investigations into his dealings with a state college, House Speaker Ray Sansom is expected to resign his post today.

Sansom, R-Destin, would at least temporarily be replaced by Cretul, R-Ocala, according to the negotiated deal. That could set off a scramble among other Republicans to replace Sansom and take over for the next two years.

But is also likely that Sansom will step down only until the investigations are complete.

Palm Beach Post (Q – Florida Politics):

Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom of Destin, right, is expected to resign his position at least temporarily and hand power to fellow Republican Rep. Larry Cretul of Ocala.

Snyder said he preferred that Sansom would step down permanently, making for only one transition of power for the majority party.

But negotiations over timing appear to be ongoing and involve Reps. Dean Cannon of Orlando, who is expected to take the speaker’s office in 2012, and Bill Galvano, a powerful lawmaker from Bradenton.

Orlando Sentinel (Central Florida Political Pulse):

Embattled House Speaker Ray Sansom was due in Cape Canaveral Thursday to talk space funding with local politicians. He didn’t show. And word among the Tallahassee set is that he will step down — at least temporarily — today.

Now word is that Sansom will announce his resignation sometime today, and that Rep. Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, will step in to assume the duties of House speaker until after the assorted grand jury and ethics commission investigations are complete.

This is the first Republican Speaker to resign the post in recent history.

The ethics and grand juries will come back with nothing and this will be much ado about nothing. However, it was clearly a distraction during the special session, and the Legislature will have a lot of work to do during the regular session in March.

I don’t think he needed to resign, but in the end Sansom is putting the business of the House first.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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