Less than a month ago, Pasco County GOP Representative John Legg was still running for the Senate District 18 seat (the seat being vacated by term-limited Mike Fasano that encompasses West Pasco and portions of Hernando and Sumter counties). He looked to be facing a tough battle against a well-financed opponent.
But then suddenly Legg was out of that race. Instead, he was going to run in the District 17 seat where a vulnerable Jim Norman was also running for re-election.
Former GOP state legislator Rob Wallace had been campaigning against Norman in that district for months, but once Legg got into the race, seemingly the entire GOP Tallahassee establishment deserted Norman and embraced Legg's candidacy, which no doubt played a part in leading Norman to decide earlier this week not to run for election.
So what's wrong with this scenario? A lot, if you're Rob Wallace.
In a press release issued Friday morning called "Rush to judgment," Wallace blasts the GOP establishment for racing to support Legg.
“The Tallahassee political establishment is attempting to anoint the next Senator from District 17. The party leadership seems to have forgotten what the primary is all about. I firmly believe the voters in District 17 will have the last word and we will see if it is the same word spoken by the Tallahassee insiders. I will represent the voters of District 17, not the Tallahassee insiders or the special interests.”
“It is beyond belief that they would support Legg who moved into the District 2 weeks ago, after having campaigned for over 18 months in a different Senate District. Seems Legg recently decided he couldn’t win in District 18, portions of which he represented for 8 years, and now in 2 weeks expects East Pasco and North Hillsborough to welcome him to his new home.”
Rob Wallace served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1994 to 2002. What that means is that the powers in Tallahassee aren't all that familiar with him, whereas they are with John Legg.
GOP activist John Korsak is also running in the Senate District 17 Republican primary.
Retired small business owner Wes Johnson is the Democrat in the race.