Special elections expected to increase GOP seats in FL Legislature

The Florida House of Representatives. Credit: CD Davidson-Hiers

The Florida House of Representatives will be back at full strength next week, with upcoming special elections filling vacant seats that are expected to slightly increase the Republican hold on the chamber.

The Florida House went through the 2019 session with three vacant seats. Gov. Ron DeSantis was responsible for the vacancies; he appointed three House members in January to lead agencies in his new administration.

On Tuesday, three statehouse districts – one in North Florida, one in Pasco County, and one in Broward County – will get new representatives. In Broward County, a  Democrat who faced no opposition has already qualified for a legislative  seat.

Republicans are favored to win the two contested races in North Florida and Pasco County, bringing the GOP’s total number of seats to 73, up from the current 71. The increase is significant in that it would give the GOP enough votes to pass proposed constitutional amendments out of the House in the 2020 session, which begins in January.

The election of Coral Springs City Commissioner Dan Daley in Broward County’s District 97 will bring the Democrats’ House total to 47 seats in the 120-member chamber.

In the North Florida district (District 7), which spans nine and a half counties, Gulf County Republican Jason Shoaf is facing Ryan Terrell, a Leon County Democrat.

In District 38 in Pasco County, Republican Randy Maggard is facing Democrat Kelly Smith.

The state legislators DeSantis tapped to join his administration this year include Broward Democrat Rep. Jared Moskowitz,  to lead the Division of Emergency Management; Rep. Danny Burgess, a Pasco Republican, to head the Department of Veterans’ Affairs; and Jefferson County Rep. Halsey Beshears as secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.



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