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Rene Plasencia, Tom Goodson to shuffle House seats near Space Coast

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Titusville state Rep. Tom Goodson from District 50 will not seek re-election there, and will instead opt to run for an adjacent House seat, freeing up state Rep. Rene Plasencia to make a run at the Republican-oriented seat.

The latest move in Central Florida legislative musical chairs was first reported by Frank Torres of the Orlando Political Observer and Jacob Engels of the East Orlando Post.

Plasencia narrowly defeated state Rep. Joe Saunders in a tightly-contested race that saw the Democratic incumbent go down by a margin of fewer than 700 votes.

Goodson’s swapping seats gives “Coach P,” as Plasencia is known, a chance at a safer seat in 2016  likely to favor Democrats in his current liberal-leaning District 49, which was won handily by President Obama in 2012.

Goodson surprised many insiders recently when he opted to run for term-limited Speaker Steve Crisafulli‘s Brevard County-based seat, as most expected him to take a crack at the Distrcit 14 Senate seat currently occupied by President Andy Gardiner, also leaving after 2016 due to term limits.

The move sets Goodson up to run for Congress should U.S. U.S. Rep. Bill Posey retire in the near future.

Plasencia will face (at least) a challenge from Republican businessman Chadwick Hardee, who has already opened a campaign account in District 50.

Hardee jumped in only on the condition that Goodson not run again, but he made no such arrangement with Plasencia, who currently represents one of the many patchwork House districts that take in part of the Orlando metro area, to the east.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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