Dorworth is losing; Florida House speaker-designate Will Weatherford will wait and see who his successor will be
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11/09/12 Janelle Irwin
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State Rep. Will Weatherford sits with TV personality Kathy Fountain during an award ceremony with The Tampa Bay Partnership.


photo by Janelle Irwin

Republican state Representative Chris Dorworth from Lake Mary was slated to become House speaker in 2014. But he trails his Democratic challenger Mike Clelland in his reelection bid. At a Tampa Bay Partnership meeting Friday in Tampa, the incoming House Speaker wouldn’t say who might replace Dorworth.

A social media post by Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times suggested that Republican Steve Crisafulli could take Dorworth’s spot. But Will Weatherford, who is set to assume the speakership on November 20, said the party will just have to wait and see. A recount order is expected and is tentatively scheduled for Sunday.

"So we have to wait for sure to see where the recount comes in. But look, If Representative Dorworth is not reelected we're going to deal with it. We have a process to deal with it. We have a membership that will be prepared to pick a new leader. Right now the election's over. We're focused on the organizational session that comes up in ten days and all the problems and challenges we face in the state. That's where my focus is. We'll see where the recount comes in and we'll deal with it when it gets here."

After 370 provisional ballots were counted last night, Clelland’s lead over Dorworth jumped from 37 votes to 123. Speaker positions in the state House tend to be determined years in advance, leaving the position contingent on reelection. Weatherford said the early designations are all part of the planning process.

"They don't have to be. They're not officially designated until about a year and a half out. There tends to be people who want proper planning I guess would be the right way to articulate it and it usually works out that there are cases when something like this happens and we have to deal with it. We will deal with it."

Dorworth is currently a Representative for in the Orlando area. According to the Tampa Bay Times, other possible replacements for his spot in line for speaker include Miami’s Erik Fresen, Matt Hudson from Naples and Charles McBurney from Jacksonville.

Post-broadcast update: media reports say Dorworth is ready to concede Friday



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