Wallace served in the House for 8 years (1994-2002), but is definitely not the establishment choice among state Republicans in the race to succeed Jim Norman in the state Senate. That would be Legg, who recently changed his voter registration, driver's license, and financial disclosure forms to an address in SD-17, which consists of parts of Hillsborough and Pasco Counties.
That means he no longer resides in House District 46, which covers West Pasco County, stretching from Port Richey to the Hernando County line. State law says a representative doesn't have to live in the district that he or she runs in, but they must live there after being elected (readers might recall the issue came up in the House District 58 special election race in Tampa in early 2010, when Democrat Janet Cruz ran for the West Tampa-Seminole Heights seat while living outside of the district in South Tampa).
Article III Section l5(c) of the Florida Constitution requires that a "Legislator shall be...resident of the district from which elected''. A basic tenant of representative democracy is that the electorate sends one of their own to represent them. The Legislator must reside in the district he/she serves. Wallace says since Legg moved out of District 46 he no longer complies with the Florida Constitution.
"To me he's caught between two oaths," Wallace told CL Friday afternoon.
Wallace says he won't pursue the action in court, saying he doesn't have the financial wherewithal, which isn't surprising if you look at the vast difference in fundraising between the two candidates.
"I don't have the finances. He's been blessed by the 'Senatocracy' up there, they want him. They sent out messages (saying) anybody who helps Rob is in trouble..so I've been cut off."
Wallace also places zero faith in the state Commission on Ethics, saying they "move by molasses."
But he says the issue should affect voters on GOP primary voters on August 14, since they may be electing a candidate who they can't trust. "What's to say he doesn't want to move to Weeki Watchee and be near the mermaids? He's got a lot of friends in Tallahassee, maybe he'll move there," Wallace cracked.
Wallace says he still has a lot of respect for the institution that he used to serve in, but doesn't feel that Legg does. "He's been horsin' around with this issue for years, and he's finally now made a mistake and put it in writing that he doesn't live in the district, and I'm calling him out on it. I think the simplest thing for him to do and the honorable thing for him to do is to resign from the office and proceed on to the Senate campaign."
The Tampa Tribune is reporting on Legg's official response. It reads as follow:
“My wife and I have two houses, one is in my current House District and the other is in the Senate District for which I am running. I have begun preparations to be in the Senate District by Election Day as Florida Statutes require, and I have been advised by the House General Council that those preparations are fine and there is no obligation for me to resign.”