By William March, Tampa Bay Times
State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, dropped a tantalizing hint Friday that he may have political plans beyond the state Senate.
Asked in a public meeting about his loss of a campaign for the Senate presidency, and what he hopes to accomplish despite that loss, Latvala said, “I think that I’m going to sort of paraphrase what Mark Twain said -- rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated. I don’t think that we’ve written the last chapter of what I’m going to try to do in the public service arena. So stay tuned.”
After the Tampa Tiger Bay meeting at which he made the comments, Latvala refused to elaborate or directly answer questions about what office he might run for in the future, including the District 13 Congressional race to replace Rep. David Jolly.
Through his long career in Florida politics, Latvala hasn’t previously expressed much interest in leaving Florida to go to Washington.
But his loss of the Senate presidency frustrates a goal he’s had for years, and he has no love for the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for the D-13 seat, Charlie Crist.
After a battle lasting several years, Latvala agreed recently to cede the Senate presidency from 2016-18 to Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, in return for a promise that he’ll chair the powerful appropriations committee.
Re-elected to the Senate in 2014, he is currently in what would be his final term unless redistricting affects his term limit.
He told the Tiger Bay audience he’s not bitter. He said the fact that there’s been no senate president from Pinellas County for 90 years was “one of the driving factors of me trying to get that job.
He added, “I am satisfied with the outcome that was worked out. I think I’ll be able to make a significant contribution to our area in the role that I’ll be assigned and I am satisfied with the kind of president that Sen Negron will be.