Chris Latvala takes HD 67 GOP primary with 67% of vote

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For first-time Republican candidate Chris Latvala, political success must be in his DNA.

Latvala, son of longtime Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala, overwhelmed Army veteran Christopher Shepard 67 to 23 percent to take Tuesday’s GOP primary for House District 67.  He will now face Democratic candidate Steve Sarnoff – who also successfully fought off challenges from Shawna Vercher and Thomas Ryan on Tuesday – to succeed GOP State Rep. Ed Hooper for the northeast Pinellas County district that includes most of Clearwater and Largo.

During the campaign, Latvala proved to be a prodigious fundraiser, reaching $236,485 in contributions from a variety of business interests and PACs, as well as a list of endorsements from many of Florida’s most influential associations.

Latvala, 32, is vice president of GCI Printing Services, his father’s printing business, which creates signs for political campaigns. In 2004, he graduated from the University of Central Florida.

From 2006 to 2009, Latvala served as Hooper’s legislative aide, and has since received the endorsement of his former boss. Hooper, who is term-limited from the House, is running for Pinellas County Commission against incumbent Republican Norm Roche.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.