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Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson

SW Florida

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson expected to resign to run for Congress this week

He’s the only candidate out of 11 who must quit one job to seek another.

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson will resign his office in order to run for Congress. That’s no shock, as Florida has a resign-to-run law.

Henderson, a Republican candidate in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, won’t leave office until November. But once he submits a resignation letter, state law says he can’t take it back even if he loses the race for Congress.

His campaign declined to comment, saying only it would announce more information later this week. The resign to run deadline for candidates this year is April 10, or Friday.

Notably, out of 12 active candidates running for the Southwest Florida congressional seat, the rule this year only impacts Henderson.

The other three candidates holding office — state Reps. Dane Eagle, Heather Fitzenhagen and Byron Donalds — will have their terms end before new members of Congress take office in January.

But Henderson began his third mayoral term in November 2017 and will end up leaving office three years into his term.

The most significant political consequence of the resignation may be the opening of the Mayor’s seat for the first time since 2009.

But how that plays out remains to be seen. Sources close to Henderson suggest the best way to save taxpayer money would be to hold an election for Mayor concurrent with the regular election cycle. The city plans to hold a primary on Aug. 18 and a general election Nov. 3, concurrent with state elections.

It’s the first year the city has held elections on an even-year style, a shift other Lee County cities like Cape Coral have also made.

Once the Mayor submits his resignation the city can determine when it will schedule the special election for his seat.

Should an election be scheduled for the August-November cycle, it means candidates will already be set before Republican voters in the district choose a nominee for Congress.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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