Jack Latvala had excellent excuse for early exit of primary watch party: hip replacement surgery

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Leaving an election night party early may be rude, but state Sen. Jack Latvala had an excellent excuse for an early exit from Tuesday night’s primary watch party — the Clearwater Republican was recovering from hip replacement surgery.

Latvala and term-limited state Rep. Ed Hooper, who won his GOP primary bid for Pinellas County Commission District 2, shared election celebrations at the Quaker Steak & Lube in Pinellas Park.

Hooper was impressed that Latvala made the party since he only had his hip replaced on Friday. “He’s a tough guy,” Hooper said. Latvala had hip replacement surgery once before, in 2011.

The party drew a high-spirited crowd of supporters, including Rep. Kathleen Peters, Clearwater City Council Member Hoyt Hamilton and vice Mayor Doreen Hock-DiPolito.

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.