The passing of U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young on Friday leaves a larger-than-life-sized hole in Pinellas County, state and national politics, one that will not be filled easily.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Steve Bousquet examined the political nuts-and-bolts of what happens next.
In the event of a Congressional vacancy, Gov. Rick Scott calls a special election, but there is no specific timetable in Florida law.
What the law does mandate is that a special election “shall be held” in four distinct instances — a vacancy in the House of Representatives of Congress is one of them.
Scott is also bound by law to set a date for the special election, after consulting with Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Florida’s chief elections officer.
Scott’s orders will set dates for the special primary and election, as well as the qualifying deadline. This is so candidates can start collecting voters’ signatures on petitions — instead of paying a filing fee — as well as deadlines for filing campaign contribution and expense reports.
Again, Florida law dictates a period of at least two weeks between primary and general elections.
The state pays any expense incurred by counties holding a special election, according to the Times.
The resignation of Rep. Robert Wexler in October of 2009 was the last time there was a mid-term vacancy for a Florida congressional seat. The Boca Raton Democrat resigned to take a job with a nonprofit organization promoting peace in the Middle East. Although Wexler declared his resignation in October 2009, it was effective Jan. 3, 2010.