Daughter of former state Sen. Mary Grizzle files challenge to Larry Ahern in HD 66

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State Rep. Larry Ahern has drawn a challenger in House District 66, a Democrat who comes from a prominent Belleair Beach Republican family.

Lorena Jane Grizzle filed a campaign account on May 9 to face Ahern in the district covering much of northwest Pinellas County, including the cities of Clearwater, Largo, Belleair and Seminole. Ahern was running unopposed.

Grizzle is the 61-year-old daughter of restaurateur Benjamin “Ben” Franklin Grizzle, owner of the former Sand Dollar Restaurant and Lounge in St. Petersburg, and State Sen. Mary Grizzle, who in 1963 was the first Republican woman elected to the Florida Legislature. Grizzle’s mother also served from 1974-1978 as House Republican Leader Pro-Tempore, the first woman in Florida elected to a leadership position. She was also elected to the state Senate in 1978, remaining there until 1992.

In 1992, the Florida Legislature voted to name the Mary Grizzle State Office Building near Ridge and Ulmerton roads in Largo in her honor.

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.