Three state Republicans announce qualifying for the ballot by petition

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A number of state Republicans announced on Monday they submitted enough petition signatures to make it on their respective ballots in November.

Incumbent state Rep. Richard Corcoran collected the required 1,107 signed petitions to place his name on the ballot for reelection in House District 37. The two-term Republican is currently running unopposed for the seat covering much of  Pasco County, including Trinity, Odessa and Shady Hills.

“It is very humbling to once again have an outpouring of community support for my bid to return to Tallahassee,” Corcoran said.  “It has been an honor to serve the community for the last four years.  If reelected, I will continue to fight for the people of Pasco County.”

Corcoran was first elected in 2010, re-elected in 2012 and has been chosen by his chamber as Speaker of the House before he is term-limited in 2018.

House District 67 GOP hopeful Chris Latvala also exceeded the 959 petition signatures required for inclusion on the ballot. The first-time candidate, son of state Sen. Jack Latvala, submitted 1,049 petition signatures. Ultimately, 971 were verified valid.

Latvala is seeking to replace term-limited Republican Rep. Ed Hooper for the district that includes parts of Clearwater, Largo and Pinellas Park.

Bob Cortes, co-owner of Cortes Towing Service, surpassed the necessary 1,006 petitions to qualify for the upcoming election in House District 30. He faces incumbent Democrat Rep. Karen Castor-Dentel for the district covering parts of Seminole and Orange Counties.

In a statement from his campaign, Cortes said he received over 900 petitions from Seminole County and over 200 in Orange County and election supervisors in both counties have certified 1,025 of them.

“Any candidate can declare that they are going to qualify by petition,” Cortes said. But it takes a comprehensive approach and a very dedicated ground team to accomplish the task.”

Cortes also noted that Castor-Dentel collected petitions from Orange County exclusively, receiving no support from Seminole County. He calls that a “commentary on her limited perspective” on how to represent the district, as well as an indication of voter dissatisfaction with her “lack of leadership.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.