Richard Corcoran qualifies for 2016 ballot via petition

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

State Rep. Richard Corcoran announced Monday he had qualified to run for his House District 37 seat.

Corcoran, slated to be Speaker when the next Legislature convenes, said in an email he had gathered and turned in “more than the 1,113 petitions necessary.”

On Monday, the Division of Elections’ website showed Corcoran had the required number of signatures as of May 9.

“Many of you have signed one of those petitions, knocked on doors or made calls on my behalf, generously contributed financial support to my campaign, or have cast a vote for me in the past and I cannot thank you enough for your help,” he wrote.

“Thank you all for the role you have played in allowing me to represent the people of Pasco County in the House,” Corcoran added. “It has been the privilege of my lifetime and a responsibility I do not take lightly.”

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, was selected as Speaker of the GOP-controlled House of Representatives by his colleagues in September.

The 51-year-old attorney will preside over the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions. He is term-limited after the 2016 election.

He already has promised to shake things up. That includes a legislative study of prosecution and sentencing outcomes by race and county.

“Make no mistake, when we start drafting that legislation, it will be one of the most controversial we draft,” he said in September. “It will be fought by state attorneys, judges, public defenders, because nobody wants to be held accountable.”

“When we start getting those metrics, we will find out – unfortunately – that justice is not blind in this state. And we are going to fix that.”

He also supports term limits on judges. An attempt this past session to impose term limits on appellate judges passed the House but died by session’s end in the Senate.

“Thanks to your dedicated support, the campaign is hitting on all cylinders,” Corcoran said in Monday’s email.

“If we are successful in November, I will spend my final two years continuing to fight for ethics reform, for education reform, for healthcare reform, and for all of the other good work we have started in the Florida House.”

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.