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Paul Renner won, but who was there Day One? And does it actually matter?


Next three House Speakers make 2018 ballot by petition

Now that Palm Coast Republican Rep. Paul Renner has hit his signature requirements, all three lawmakers in line to be House Speaker have qualified for the ballot by petition.

Petition requirements are pegged to 1 percent of the registered voters within a district, and in Renner’s case he needed 1,282 valid signatures to make the grade in House District 24 – one of the highest requirements of the 120 Florida House Districts.

Still, Florida Division of Elections records show that Renner, who’s set to be House Speaker for the 2023-24 Legislative Sessions, had no problem hitting the mark in his tri-county seat. He had 1,303 verified signatures as of May 21, nearly a month ahead of the start of the candidate qualifying period.

The first-term Republican faces Democrat Adam Morley in the fall. While Morley also passed the signature threshold on May 21, Renner likely isn’t quaking in his boots – HD 24 is a Republican stronghold, and Renner’s campaign and committee accounts are stocked with cash.

Hialeah Republican Rep. Jose Oliva, set to take over for House Speaker Richard Corcoran after the Nov. 6 election, passed his signature requirement during the 2018 Legislative Session.

HD 110 requires just 735 signatures to make the ballot, putting it at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to Renner’s seat. As of Feb. 9, the cigar company CEO had hit that total with 98 autographs to spare.

His challenger, Democrat Duysevi Miyar, hasn’t submitted any signatures since filing last month. When she challenged Republican Rep. Bryan Avila in neighboring HD 111 last cycle, she opted to pay the qualifying fee rather than collecting the signatures.

Oliva’s successor, Palm Harbor Republican Rep. Chris Sprowls also recently hit the signature tally for House District 65 and celebrated the accomplishment in a post to his campaign’s Facebook page.

“There are few things in politics as humbling as having your neighbors and constituents lend their signature to allow you to put your name on the ballot. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone who helped us reach this important goal and to the volunteers who also helped us collect hundreds of petitions from across our district,” he wrote.

He also faces one Democratic challenger as he goes for his third term in northern Pinellas County district. Alex Toth filed for the seat in February but has made little headway in fundraising and had not racked up any verified petition signatures as of Tuesday.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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