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Jack Latvala Officially Enters Governor's Race

The Florida Channel

Republican state senator Jack Latvala says he is entering the Florida governor's race.

Latvala is kicking off his campaign Wednesday morning near Miami before flying to his hometown of Clearwater area and finishing the day in Panama City.

He filed his paperwork to seek the seat being vacated by Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Friday but waited before publicly launching the campaign.

"I'm a conservative. I never voted for a tax increase. I voted for every tough-on-crime measure the entire time I've been in the Senate,"  Latvala told The Tampa Bay Times.

Latvala has served two stints in the Florida Senate, from 1994 to 2002 and then from 2010 through today. "I'll put my voting record up against any Republican,” he told the Times. “Now, some people equate being a conservative to being anti-consumer or being anti-environment. I don't."

Latvala becomes the second major Republican to get in the race. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam entered the race in May and was immediately considered the front-runner.

Latvala, though, has shown that he isn't afraid of a fight. He has been a powerful force in the chamber, where he's often stood up to other Republican leaders.

He was the only Republican senator this year to vote against a proposed constitutional amendment raising the homestead exemption, the Tampa Bay Times reported. He called it “ill-conceived" and "produced for political purposes for people trying to pander for votes."

"Part of our problem in Tallahassee is we have government by people who are trying to move up the ladder all the time," Latvala told the Times.

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