Pinellas County’s sometimes surly senator Jack Latvala enters Florida’s governor’s race

Republican state senator Jack Latvala is entering the race for governor.

HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) – Republican Jack Latvala, a powerful, sometimes surly state senator, is entering the Florida governor’s race.

Latvala is kicking off his campaign Wednesday morning near Miami before flying to his hometown of Clearwater 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.

He becomes the second major Republican to get in the race.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Polk County native, entered the race in May and was immediately considered the front-runner.

Latvala, though, has shown during two stints in the Senate 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.

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