In HD 67, GOP’s Chris Latvala widens lead over Democrat Shawna Vercher

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For the House District 67 open seat to succeed term-limited Rep. Ed Hooper, new polling shows Chris Latvala increasing his lead over Democrat radio talk show host Shawna Vercher to nearly seven points.

In June, a StPetePolls survey had Latvala, son of State Sen. Jack Latvala, with a 43-39 percent advantage in the race to represent parts of Clearwater, Largo and Pinellas Park.

The newest StPetePolls survey, commissioned by SaintPetersBlog on July 14, Latvala, a first-time Republican candidate who was Hooper’s former legislative aide, increased the spread with likely voters to 48-41 percent.

As expected, Latvala and Vercher each have backing of their respective base voters, approaching the low-70s, with both the Republican and Democrat siphoning about the same number of voters from the other party (18 percent each). Independents were breaking to the first-time GOP candidate in June, with Latvala getting 40 percent and Vercher 32 percent. Now, independents are leaning further behind Latvala, 56-31 percent and 13 percent undecided.

In the Florida Governor’s race, likely Democratic candidate Charlie Crist takes the advantage over incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott among the voters of District 67. Scott gets nearly 39 percent of likely voters, compared to just over 47 percent for the former governor. Those numbers are just slightly within the margin of error.

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie also receives a little more than 4 percent, while “Someone Else” is polling at more than 6 percent. Three percent of voters remain undecided.

Republicans supporting Crist, a former Republican who hails from Pinellas County, sits at 25 percent, while just under 13 percent of Democrats are backing Scott. Independents are leaning slightly to the incumbent — 42 percent to 38 percent for Crist; here Wyllie does best, with more than 10 percent.

Florida Constitutional Amendment 2, the proposed measure to legalize medical marijuana, continues to hover over the magic number of 60 percent needed for passage — with a margin of 66-26 percent in HD 67. Just under 5 percent of likely voters say they are undecided.

StPetePolls randomly selected respondents within registered voters of HD 67, with only those voters saying they were planning to cast a ballot in November included in the results. That survey asked 419 registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.8 points and 95 percent confidence level.

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 His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, 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 and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.