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Pafford looks a lock on Democratic leadership post

by John Kennedy | September 24th, 2013

West Palm Beach Democrat Mark Pafford looks certain to be elected incoming leader of Florida’s House Democrats after a one-time contender for the post announced Tuesday that she was no longer a candidate.

Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, said in a statement that, “I believe it is in the best interest of the caucus,” that Pafford be chosen when Democrats reconvene Wednesday to select a leader for the 2014-16 term.

Democrats voted 24-17, with three members absent, last night to remove Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, as incoming leader.

Rouson defeated Jones by two votes in February for the leadership post, after the first round of balloting ended in a tie. Rouson, however, ran afoul of a majority of his colleagues and state party officials by establishing a fund-raising committee without the knowledge of Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant, a move many viewed as deceptive.

Pafford submitted a letter to the House Clerk’s Office early Wednesday declaring his candidacy for the top post. With Jones throwing her support his way, Pafford has risen as a consensus candidate.

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