In the lone state Senate primary race in Pinellas County, Republican incumbent Sen. Jack Latvala faces a challenge from computer programmer Zahid Roy, who ran unsuccessfully against Latvala in 2012.
The winner will face Libertarian candidate Tony Caso in the November general election to represent District 20, which covers the northern half of the county.
Latvala, 62, is one the most effective legislators in Tallahassee and might become Senate president in 2016, a powerful position that would benefit the entire Tampa Bay area. He is a conservative with a refreshing independent streak.
Roy, 48, was born in Pakistan, has run an auto body shop and is now a free-lance computer programmer. He says the country has gone “way too far off course,” and he wants to create jobs by cutting government regulations. He lost the same race two years ago in a lopsided election, a result he foolishly protested.
Roy is not a viable candidate, while Latvala wields considerable influence in Tallahassee and works for what he thinks will better his district and the state rather than blindly follow party ideology. For the Republican primary in Senate District 20, the Tribune recommends Jack Latvala.
Candidates not endorsed by The Tampa Tribune are welcome to reply. Responses, which should not exceed 150 words, should be emailed to triblet[email protected]