Jack Latvala files for re-election in 2014; will it be his last time on the ballot? Will it be Chris Latvala's first?

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Senator Jack Latvala filed paperwork last week that is a first step toward seeking re-election in 2014, according to the state Division of Elections website.

Latvala easily won the redrawn Senate District 20 seat during this fall’s elections, but because of term limits, he cannot run again in 2018.

This begs the question, will 2014 be Jack Latvala’s last time on the ballot? Or will the distinguished Senator whose career is now approaching legendary status seek another office when he leaves the Florida Legislature?

I can’t imagine him ‘pulling a Fasano’ to run for the State House. Nor can I see him dealing well with the small-ball politics of the Pinellas County Commission. This leaves Latvala with really only one option if wishes to remain in elected office: DC or bust.

Latvala could run for Bill Young’s seat when that great man no longer holds it. But I doubt it. I just don’t see Jack Latvala being 1 of 435 in the cold of Washington, D.C., meaning 2014 could be the last time you see Jack Latvala’s name on a ballot.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the last time you’ll see the name Latvala on a ballot.

Jack’s son and my friend, Chris Latvala, is considering running for Ed Hooper’s State House seat in 2014 when term limits will keep Hooper from seeking re-election.

While Hooper’s seat votes Republican, it could be a pickup for the Democrats if they got their sh*t together and recruited a capable candidate. A Democratic steal is even more likely in 2014 with Charlie Crist as the Democratic standard bearer and Rick Scott as the Republican’s.

That said, I am reminded of what Senator Latvala once said about Susan Latvala’s electoral prospects when she was challenged in 2010 by Democrat Bob Hackworth. Senator Latvala made it quite clear that so long as he was on the ballot, not only was he not going to lose, but no one who shared his last name was gonna lose either.

With the Senator up for re-election in 2014, that makes Chris Latvala an early favorite in two years.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.