Republican Lawrence McClure is one step closer to becoming a candidate to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson in a special election for Florida’s 58th House District.
On Wednesday, McClure announced he had met the threshold of petitions needed to qualify by petition in the special election, which will be held Oct. 10.
McClure, a Hillsborough County Farm Board Bureau board member from Plant City, was in high spirits over the news.
“It’s humbling to have hundreds of voters from across our community respond so enthusiastically to our campaign and the conservative principles we stand for and believe in,” he said. “I’m excited for the coming weeks where we will continue to spread our conservative message to every corner of District 58.
Born and raised in Hillsborough County, McClure works in the agriculture industry at Astin Farms, a strawberry farm in Plant City. He has served as a member of the Hillsborough County Farm since 2015.
McClure won’t be the only candidate running for the Republican nomination. Plant City businesswoman Yvonne Fry has already announced she will run for the seat and was the first to file to run for HD 58.
Colton Curry, the son of a Hillsborough County lawyer, has announced he, too, may seek the GOP nomination.
On the Democratic side, Jose Vasquez has already filed his candidacy papers. Vasquez lost to Raulerson last year.
Gov. Rick Scott called for a special election in HD 58 after state Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City, announced he would be resigning from the job due to health issues.
Raulerson missed many critical votes on the House floor this year as a result of his ongoing back problems, not showing up to seven of the House’s 63 floor sessions and missing 17 of 36 committee meetings where legislation is pushed through to the House floor.
He had surgery to alleviate symptoms, leading some to speculate that, in addition to his growing absences, his back issues would cause him to resign.
Raulerson, a former Plant City mayor, has had a long history of back issues. He was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a painful disorder which causes an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal.
The tightness of the spinal canal can be extremely painful and symptoms of the disorder include numbness, general pain and even loss of motor functions.
Raulerson’s resignation is effective Aug. 15.
The special election primary will be held Oct. 10 and the general election will be held Dec. 19, just a month before state lawmakers head back to Tallahassee for the 2018 legislative session.