Several former lawmakers (Mike Grant, Randy Johnson, Rob Wallace, etc) look to make comebacks

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When former Rep. Randy Johnson filed paperwork last week for a state House race, he became the latest in a list of ex-lawmakers hoping to make comebacks this fall, reports Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida.

At least 13 former House and Senate members have taken the initial steps to run in November — and more could be on the way.

It’s unclear whether all will end up running, as redistricting continues to leave some races unsettled. But with formal qualifying scheduled for June, the former lawmakers are able to raise money and test support.

Johnson, a Republican who lived in Osceola County when he served in the House from 1998 to 2006, has moved to Sebring and plans to run in a newly drawn District 55 that includes areas such as Highlands and Okeechobee counties.

He said he will run as a conservative and wants to address a state government that remains “bloated,” which he said was evidenced by some of the spending items included in the newly passed budget.

“I’m still surprised by some of the things that are in it,” Johnson said Monday.

Redistricting is also causing some of the former lawmakers to make quick adjustments. Former Republican Rep. Michael Grant, who served in the House from 2004 to 2008, thought he would run in a district that currently includes large chunks of Charlotte and DeSoto counties and a smaller part of Lee County.

But Grant said the new House map would largely do away with that district and create an open seat in coastal Lee County. As a result, he plans to move from Charlotte to Lee County and run in the new district.

The former lawmakers seeking to return to Tallahassee mostly served in the House, with some forced out of office by term limits. Some are running for Senate seats, while others are trying to get back to the House.

Among those planning to run for Senate seats are former Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach; former Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton; and former Rep. Rob Wallace, R-Tampa.

Others, like Johnson and Grant, have filed paperwork to run for the House. They include former House members such as Jupiter Republican Carl Domino and Miami Republican Renier Diaz de la Portilla.

In addition to former lawmakers who have filed to run, others have said they could seek to return to the Legislature. As an example, former lawmaker Nancy Argenziano said she will run as an independent for a House seat on the Nature Coast.

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.