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Special primary set for House 46

The governor okays a Sept. 24 election, setting the stage for a new Democratic contender to enter the House race.

By SAUNDRA AMRHEIN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 10, 2002

Heather Fiorentino could have some competition after all in her re-election bid for state House District 46.

Gov. Jeb Bush on Friday issued an executive order setting a special qualifying period and primary election for Democrats three days after Mike Webb dropped out.

Webb, a Democratic real estate broker for Coldwell Banker F.I. Grey & Son Inc. in New Port Richey, created a vacancy for his party's nomination Monday by pulling out of the race due to his wife's illness.

When a vacancy occurs, by state law, the governor declares a special primary.

The other candidates in the race are incumbent Fiorentino, a New Port Richey Republican, and Libertarian Jon Kueny.

The special election has been set for Sept. 24.

Democratic candidates must qualify for the special election between 8 a.m. Sept. 5 and noon Sept. 6 in Tallahassee.

If qualifying by petition, the candidates must seek 111 signatures and file them by 5 p.m. Sept. 3 at the office of Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Kurt Browning. If qualifying by fees, about $1,740 is due when filing paperwork in Tallahassee between Sept. 5 and Sept. 6.

But the special primary Sept. 24, falling two weeks after the regular primary, won't be automatic if no one files or only one candidate files.

"If one Democrat files, there is no special primary," Browning said. That person would then face the other candidates in the November general election. "If two or more file, we go to a special primary."

Fiorentino could not be reached for comment.

Leaders of the Pasco County and state Democratic parties said Friday they did not yet know if any candidates would run.

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