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2020/2022

Florida House leadership reelected in Pinellas County

The House Speaker-designate and the Leader-designate for the Florida House Democratic Caucus have both been reelected.

In Pinellas County, two key members of Florida House leadership both saw easy reelections, keeping with expectations amid a wave of surprising elections.

As we try to navigate the spew of results from Election Day, here’s some important races you may have missed:

Chris Sprowls, State House District 65

Rep. Sprowls, who was officially named Speaker-designate in September 2019, was reelected Tuesday night in a sweeping margin. The incumbent Republican earned 61.15% of the vote, while Democratic opponent Kelly Johnson only mustered 38.85%.

Sprowls will officially take the top leadership role in the House for the 2021 Session.

The Speaker-designate released two videos early Wednesday welcoming new and returning members to the Florida House, and mentioned that they will soon learn more details on COVID-19 protocol and new committee structure.

House District 65 covers the area of north Pinellas County, including the city of Clearwater.

Ben Diamond, State House District 68

Democratic incumbent Diamond, who has held HD 68 since 2016, also saw a reasonably easy victory.

Diamond won with 53.84% of the vote, while his Republican challenger Matt Tito, who received 46.16%.

Diamond was poised for easy reelection in a Democratic-leaning district. Democrats have 46,225 registered voters in the district compared to just 39,485 Republicans.

This is the incumbent’s third election, following a 2018 win without opposition. Diamond was also elected by his Democratic colleagues to serve as Leader-designate for the Florida House Democratic Caucus.

House District 68 covers the northeast portion of Pinellas County, including parts of St. Petersburg.

Rene Flowers, Pinellas County Commission District 7

In a down-ballot race, former-school board member Flowers won the District 7 Pinellas County Commission seat.

Flowers, who was up against nonpartisan candidate Maria Scruggs, saw a clean sweep — Flowers received 67.35% of the vote, while Scruggs earned 32.65%.

Flowers is a prominent community leader in Pinellas County, making her election into the commission not surprising. Flowers faced her most competitive challenge against former House Rep. Wengay Newton, who she ousted in the Democratic primaries for the commission spot.

District 7 is the most diverse in the county, with 25 percent African American and 6 percent Hispanic residents.

Flowers will succeed District 7 County Commissioner Ken Welch, who is stepping down after two decades in the seat to run for St. Petersburg mayor next year.

Written By

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at kelly@floridapolitics.com.

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