John Dicks won’t run in HD 58 special election

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Another state House election is likely to go without a credible candidate from the Democratic Party.

Former Plant City Mayor John Dicks said he won’t enter the race to replace Republican Rep. Dan Raulerson, who is resigning his seat effective Aug. 15, and so far no big names have shown excitement at the opportunity to run in the Hillsborough County seat.

“I consider public service to be both a calling and commitment and have been honored with the encouragement and support from so many. However, we have, right now, too many things going on in our lives (business, personal and family) to disrupt them for an unexpected and quick campaign,” Dicks said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.

The special election currently has two Republican candidates, Yvonne Fry and Lawrence McClure, both of whom say they will qualify for the ballot via petition signatures.

The lone Democrat in the race, Jose Vasquez, is a perennial candidate who was trampled by Raulerson last year, and even attempted – unsuccessfully – to challenge the election in circuit court claiming Raulerson’s candidacy was invalid because his notary had used “correction fluid” on his filing paperwork.

Vasquez is the only Democrat to appear on the general election ballot since the district was drawn in 2012, and even he isn’t that committed to HD 58, which despite a GOP-lean has a few thousand more registered Democrats than Republicans.

After signing up to run, he said that he’s planning to move to term-limited Rep. Janet Cruz’s district for a 2018 campaign whether or not he wins the HD 58 special election.

The qualifying period for the race ends Aug. 16 at noon.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.