Is U.S. Term Limits coordinating a grassroots campaign against Jamie Grant?
Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, listens during Florida House of Representatives floor debate at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida.

Final Days of the 2017 Florida Legislature

Several state lawmakers — including Reps. Scott Plakon, Neil Combee, and Randy Fine — have received messages from their constituents asking them to block Grant from running for re-election and running for Speaker during the 2022-24 term, saying the Tampa Republican has already served eight years in office and any more would be in violation of the state Constitution.

The push comes just days after Nick Tomboulides, the executive director of U.S. Term Limits, wrote a post on the group’s website urging Floridians to contact their legislator to stop “Grant from cheating term limits.”

“He has not only filed to run for a fifth consecutive term in 2018, but Grant says he wants to stay in the House to become Speaker in 2024! That would make 14 consecutive years in office, almost double the legal limit,” wrote Tomboulides in a June 21 post on U.S. Term Limits’ website.

“Grant must believe he is above the law. He is attempting to justify his actions by pointing to a brief pause in his service from 2014-2015, when Grant’s friends in the Legislature vacated his seat. He was back in his job just 155 days later, mostly missing time when the House wasn’t in session,” he continued. “According to Grant, this meaningless gap started his term limit clock all over again, giving him a fresh eight years-plus.”

Tomboulides wrote a similar op-ed also ran on Sunshine State News website on June 16. Established in the early 1990s, U.S. Term Limits, a Washington, D.C.-based group, advocates for term limits at all levels of government.

First elected to the Florida House in 2010, Grant’s 2014 re-election campaign was embroiled in controversy. In the months leading up to the election, Tampa attorney Michael Steinberg filed suit over write-in candidate Daniel Matthews.

Steinberg, who was married to Grant’s GOP opponent Miriam Steinberg, said the write-in candidate should be disqualified because he didn’t live in the district. At the time, the Tampa Tribune reported that Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey agreed, and disqualified him. However, Matthews appealed, and panel of judges with the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with him.

While the legal battle was continued, the election played. Grant would eventually win the election; however, the House threw out those election results and vacated the seat. According to a Tampa Tribune report at the time, the House cited the months-long and unresolved litigation over the write-in candidacy.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered a special election, which Grant handily won. And since the seat was vacant when Grant won the special election, he won a new term — not a re-election.

That has left some Floridians irked, and they’re sounding off to their state representatives. In an email to Plakon, Casselberry resident Janet Leonard said she was “very disheartened to learn that Rep. Grant is evading the eight-year term limit set in place by 77 percent of Florida voters in 1992.”

“Why does one man believe he is above the law and not subject to these limits,” she wrote Plakon, according to an email provided to “A 155-day hiatus doesn’t change the fact that he’s been in office for each of eight consecutive years. As my state representative, you should stop grant from cheating term limits and becoming a future Speaker.”

In another email, Longwood resident Albert Simpson tells Plakon that “term limits are an essential part of Florida government that stop elected officials from abusing their power.” He goes on to ask Plakon to tell Grant to step down from office instead of violating term limits.

Grant is one of four candidates in the running to be the Speaker of the House beginning in 2022, if Republicans keep their majority. Grant and Rep. Paul Renner, who was elected in a special election in April 2015, are considered to be the leading contenders for the post.

The freshman GOP caucus is expected to vote for its leader, and eventual Speaker, during a meeting in Central Florida on June 30.

Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster


  • Terrance Power

    June 23, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Ridiculous. Grant didn’t write the rules, he just followed the laws. And as a voter in his House district, I’m delighted to have him represent us in Tallahassee! He’ll make a great Speaker, btw.

    • Susan Boyce

      June 23, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Well, 77% of Floridians don’t want career politicians, and this is typical of someone of a career politician, thinking they can create loopholes for themselves and not have the law apply to themselves. Even if you buy they very dubious argument about his being out of office for the 155 days, it certainly goes against the spirit of the law. That is NOT the kind of person I want as speaker of the House!

  • Jim Green

    June 23, 2017 at 9:40 am

    It’s disappointing when elected officials attempt to play games to get around the spirit of the law. Term limits were designed to stop unfair rules that gave advantage to those already elected. When the Republicans cheat the spirit of the law to benefit a career politician like Jamie Grant, it shows they’re not interested in fair elections or representing the people of Florida. It’s obvious the Republicans supporting Grant are really interested in power by any means. A great example of there being no honor in politics.

  • Terry Power

    June 23, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Blah, blah, blah.

  • Hortence Cheskabolski

    June 23, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Interesting that these emails started coming out right after Fine pulled out and threw his support to Renner (who he is bragging that Paul promised him the Gen. Approp. chair.) Doesn’t Renner face the same term limit problem?!

    Look for a nasty “Thursday Surprise” and you can bet it will come from the Renner camp. He has a history of going nasty in campaigns for his own benefit. Including against some of his fellow classmates.

    So much for this class making a change….

  • Philip Blumel

    June 27, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Contrary to the comment above, Jamie Grant is NOT following the rules. The rules say a rep cannot run again if he or she has served for eight consecutive years, something that Grant will have done after next year. He was elected in 2010 and has served every year and no one has held that office at any time during this period. He is simply *asserting* that his temporary election SNAFU started his clock over. The law says no such thing. The only mechanism citizens have to counter that assertion is litigation. Unfortunately, Grant’s ambition is threatening to drag his party through the mud, as he is running for speaker when he knows he could be dogged by a lawsuit that he is unlikely to win. He is simply counting on the fact that no one has sufficient interest in rectifying the situation to pay for such a lawsuit. He is wrong.

    • Terry Power

      June 28, 2017 at 2:44 am

      Good luck with that. You have no grounds. Smh…

Comments are closed.


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