Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday set the dates for a special primary and general election to replace Palm Beach County Democrat Jeff Clemens in the Florida Senate.
Democrats hold a 46.6-to-24.1 percent registration advantage in Clemens’ old District 31, so his replacement will most likely be another Democrat. So Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel urged Scott to schedule a special election “immediately” to seat a new senator in time for the 2018 legislative session, which runs Jan. 9 to March 9.
Scott, however ordered a Jan. 30 primary and April 10 general election. If Republicans make good on Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Michael Barnett‘s prediction that his party will field a candidate, that means the District 31 seat won’t be filled until after the regular session and Republicans will maintain a 24-15 advantage in the chamber until then.
The dates Scott chose were suggested by Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher — a liberal Democratic state House member before she won the nonpartisan elections post.
Two Democrats — state Rep. Lori Berman and former state Rep. Irving Slosberg — have opened campaigns in District 31 and Democratic state Rep. David Silvers is another possible candidate. County GOP Vice Chairwoman Tami Donnally is also considering the race.