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Sebesta could trigger 'a row of dominoes'

Published November 3, 2005

Tampa Bay, already the state's biggest hotbed of political activity, would see a sudden frenzy of politicking if Sen. Jim Sebesta's seat had to be quickly filled.

It would mean a potentially bruising and unpredictable special election to succeed Sebesta for Florida's most competitive Senate seat, which includes parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

In addition, Florida's "resign to run" law likely would require special elections for three Pinellas state House seats that could come open months sooner than expected.

"It would trigger a row of dominoes like you haven't seen in Pinellas County in a long, long time," said state Rep. Charlie Justice of St. Petersburg, a Democrat running for Sebesta's seat.

Justice's seat would have to be filled early, and the front-runner is St. Petersburg City Council chairman Rick Kriseman, a Democrat. If Kriseman resigned early, council members would appoint a successor to finish out his term.

Also running for Sebesta's seat are Republican state Reps. Frank Farkas of St. Petersburg and Kim Berfield of Clearwater, both of whose seats would be filled in a special election.

Farkas called Sebesta a great choice for secretary of state but after checking with the governor's office, said he's still planning on a September primary.

[Last modified November 3, 2005, 01:06:17]

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