With Dorworth defeated, Crisafulli named House Speaker-designateby John Kennedy | November 12th, 2012
In the wake of the surprising upset of a future leader, House Republicans on Monday chose Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island as speaker-designate for 2014.
The announcement that the Republican caucus had rallied around Crisafulli coincided with the completion of a manual recount in Seminole County that showed Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, defeated by Democrat Mike Clelland by the margin of 146 votes.
Dorworth, who was speaker-designate for 2014, had raised more than $500,000 for his re-election campaign, vastly outspending Clelland. Dorworth, though, has been plagued by personal financial problems and Clelland, a lawyer and former firefighter, was helped in Tuesday’s election by a strong Democratic turnout in Central Florida for President Obama.
Dorworth is the first incumbent tapped as a future speaker to lose re-election in Florida, since Democrat Sam Bell was upended in 1988 after leading the charge for the state services tax a year earlier.
“I am proud of the way our Republican House members have handled the adverstity that has come our way over the past week,” said Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who will take over as House Speaker at the Legislature’s organizational session next week.
Crisafulli, 41, was just elected to his third term. He’s a real estate broker and has interests in agribusiness. Crisafulli is a descendant of Doyle Carlton, Florida’s Democratic governor from 1929-33.
“I understand the weight of the responsibility that has been placed on my shoulders and I know with the support of the House, we will set forth a bold agenda that honors Floridians over the next four years,” Crisafulli said.