Titusville Rep. Tom Goodson from District 50 will not seek re-election there, and will instead opt to run for an adjacent House seat, freeing up Rep. Rene Plasencia to make a run at the Republican-oriented seat.
The latest move in Central Florida legislative musical chairs was first reported by Frank Torres of the Orlando Political Observer and Jacob Engels of the East Orlando Post.
Plasencia narrowly defeated Rep. Joe Saunders in a tightly contested race that saw the Democratic incumbent go down by a margin of less than 700 votes.
Goodson’s swapping seats gives “Coach P,” as Plasencia is known, a chance at a safer seat in a 2016 likely to favor Democrats in his current liberal-leaning District 49, which was won handily by President Obama in 2012.
Goodson surprised many insiders recently when he opted to run for term-limited Speaker Steve Crisafulli‘s Brevard County-based seat. Most expected him to take a crack at the District 14 Senate seat occupied by President Andy Gardiner, also leaving after 2016 because of term limits.
The move sets Goodson up to run for Congress should U.S. Rep. Bill Posey retire in the near future.
Plasencia will face (at least) a challenge from Republican businessman Chadwick Hardee, who has already opened a campaign account in District 50.
Hardee jumped in only on the condition that Goodson not run again, but he made no such arrangement with Plasencia, who represents one of the many patchwork House districts that take in part of the Orlando metro area to the east.