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Another state Senate hopeful

Published March 13, 2007


TALLAHASSEE - The chief of staff to House Speaker Marco Rubio resigned Monday and plans to run for the state Senate seat held by Nancy Argenziano.

Richard Corcoran, a former legislative aide and Republican political consultant, said the decision was difficult, but he feels he could have more effect as an elected official.

Officially Corcoran will be a candidate for the 2008 election. But Argenziano is a strong contender for a spot on the Public Service Commission, the five-member panel that regulates utilities. If she is selected, a special election will be held later this year to fill her senate seat.

Argenziano, R-Dunnellon, briefly did not make the PSC shortlist but a state senator later said he meant to vote "yes" and Argenziano was back in contention.

State Senate District 3 is immense, touching 13 counties from Citrus north to Baker, west of Jacksonville.

In a letter to Rubio on Monday, Corcoran, 41, said he was moving his family back to Crystal River, and he will resume practicing law while launching his political campaign. As Rubio's chief of staff, Corcoran earned $175,000. A state senator earns $30,996, though Corcoran could have his law practice as well.

"Money has never been my motivating factor for serving the public," Corcoran said.

Corcoran was raised in the Pasco County area and later moved to Crystal River, where he was an aide to then-state Rep. Paul Hawkes. He then started a political consulting firm and also worked for the Republican Party of Florida.

In 1998, Corcoran challenged Argenziano in the Republican primary for a House seat. Corcoran joked that she "humbled" him in that race, and he would not challenge her next year if she isn't selected to the PSC.

At least two other Republicans plan to seek the seat. State Rep. Charlie Dean of Inverness, a former Citrus County sheriff, confirmed his intentions Monday. Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said he's "absolutely" interested.

[Last modified March 13, 2007, 01:44:19]

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