Now that its a go that Mike Fasano will be appointed by Rick Scott as the next Pasco County Tax Collector, the question is who might replace Fasano in House District 36?
The two names emerging as the most likely candidates are attorney Jeff Lucas and consultant/lobbyist Shawn Foster.
Lucas is a high-profile Republican trail attorney with the law firm of Lucas, Green & Magazine. A former public defender in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Lucas enjoys a near-sterling reputation in local legal circles. He’s also financially well-off, meaning he could quickly bankroll a start-up campaign if there is special election to fill Fasano’s seat.
Foster is a close ally of Fasano and, well, most Pasco County elected officials, including Congressman Bilirakis, for whom Foster was a Deputy Chief of Staff, as well as several other local politicians, such as County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey. Foster is currently a lobbyist with powerhouse firm Southern Strategies Group — a career platform I assume Foster would not give up lightly.
As for other names being bantered about, there is Chris Gregg, who lost in the Republican primary to Starkey and Bill Gunter, who previously ran unsuccessfully for the County Commission and is Rep. Corcoran’s pastor.
District 36 is a lean-Democrat seat that has +2.5 party registration advantage for the D’s. The seat went for Barack Obama, 53% to 47%, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Democrats could steal this seat.