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Browning leaving as state elections chief

Secretary of State Kurt Browning, Florida's chief elections official, will soon step down from his post, according to a highly-placed source in Tallahassee.

Browning was reappointed to the post by Gov. Rick Scott after holding the same post in Charlie Crist's administration, and before that he served for 26 years as supervisor of elections in Pasco County. His home county has been abuzz with speculation that Browning is considering going home to run for county school superintendent, in which he would challenge Superintendent Heather Fiorentino in a Republican primary.

Browning has declined to respond to questions about his future. His spokesman, Chris Cate, said Monday: "The secretary has not had any discussions with Governor Scott about a resignation; nor has the secretary offered a letter of resignation at this time."

It's expected that Browning will stay on through the Jan. 31 presidential preference primary in Florida to ensure a smooth transition to a successor, who will oversee a closely-watched presidential election and a busy reapportionment year in Florida.