House Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran is setting up a 15-member committee of Republican state lawmakers to help campaigns navigate the 2016 election cycle.
As first reported by Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools, the Land O’Lakes Republican is starting his effort by requiring each Republican House candidate to qualify by voter petition, and not by paying the nearly $1,800 qualifying fee.
“Our goal is that by the time qualifying happens there will be more people in our conference qualifying by petition and going the grass roots than ever before,” Corcoran told reporter Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times.
To qualify by petition, Florida law requires candidates to gather signatures from a minimum of 1 percent of the voters by late May. The qualifying period begins June 20.
LobbyTools estimates the 1 percent figure ranges from 639 voters in the Palm Beach County district of Democratic Rep. Dave Kerner to 1,347 in the Jacksonville-area district of Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson.
Corcoran, who will chair the campaign panel, says he is sure to include Gainesville Republican Rep. Keith Perry, the winner of three races in a swing district containing a fair number of liberal Democrats.
The goal is to expand the Republican Party’s 81-member legislative caucus in 2016. A presidential election year traditionally favors Democrats. Corcoran told the Times he will focus on three competitive seats: Orange County’s HD 49, Brevard’s HD 53 and HD 114 in Miami-Dade.