In HD 67, it’s possible Chris Latvala will not face the opponent he was expected to

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There’s little doubt that Chris Latvala will win the GOP primary in House District 67, a Pinellas County-based seat which has been represented for the last eight years by Rep. Ed Hooper.

According to the last poll I commissioned in the district, Latvala was running at 62 percent. The question is not whether Latvala will win, but who will he face in the general election.

After candidate qualifying, it appeared that Shawna Vercher would emerge from a three-way Democratic primary to face Latvala. Vercher is well-spoken, attractive, media savvy. She is running against union president and longtime city of Clearwater account manager Stephen Sarnoff and dairy worker Thomas Ryan.

Vercher says she has 70 people volunteering on her campaign, has raised more money than her opponents and has generated more earned media — good and bad — for her campaign. Again, she was/is expected to prevail in today’s primary.

However, that same poll which shows Latvala winning his primary shows that Sarnoff is leading Vercher. Among likely voters, Sarnoff takes 32 percent, while Vercher is at 22 percent. Twenty-nine percent of voters remain undecided.

Some will say it doesn’t really matter who the well-funded, hard-working Latvala faces in the general election .. that he will easily prevail over either Democrat. But Sarnoff versus Vercher is the only (right?) Democratic primary in a competitive legislative seat.

What does that say about the state of Florida Democrats?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.