Democrats gain in Florida Legislature; House leader hit

Published On: Nov 07 2012 12:48:50 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 07 2012 05:52:17 PM EST

Chris Dorworth.


Although still badly outnumbered in Florida's legislative hallways, more Democrats will soon be at the Capitol coming off perhaps their most encouraging Election Day in some two decades.

Republican leaders may be looking over their shoulders after losing a super majority in the Legislature and possibly their pick to be House speaker in two years.

State Rep. Chris Dorworth trailed Democratic challenger Mike Clelland by 37 votes before Seminole County officials count provisional ballots on Thursday. The result would be then sent to state officials, who determine whether a recount is needed. Dorworth's departure would create a scramble among Republicans to replace him as speaker-designate.

It would be the first time a speaker-designate was defeated since 1988 when Sam Bell lost after his role in passing a short-lived services tax.

The race will be decided by next week once a few hundred provisional ballots are reviewed and a mandatory recount conducted.

Doworth has had person, ethical and financial controversies surrounding him in recent years. Local 6 reached out to Doworth but hasn't heard back from him.

Clelland, a retired firefighter who later became a lawyer, told Local 6 he's ready to serve if he wins.

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