The race for 2022 Speaker of the Florida House is over and, as expected, Rep. Paul Renner of Palm Coast has won.
The 26 Republican freshman House members met behind closed doors at an Orlando hotel midday Friday to conduct the secret ballot election to chose their leader and speaker-designate..
Renner faced three other state representatives in the race: Jamie Grant of Tampa, Byron Donalds of Naples and Erin Grall of Vero Beach.
Perhaps the lone surprise in the race is that Renner was able to win on the first ballot.
The rules required a majority, or 14, of the votes to win. It was expected that with four candidates it might take multiple rounds of voting for a candidate to win the contest.
But Renner managed to get 16 votes on the first ballot.
Renner used to live in Jacksonville but moved to Palm Coast to run for the House from that area. He still has close ties to the Jacksonville area. If he were to go on to become House speaker in 2022, he would be the first from northeast Florida since John Thrasher served as speaker in the late 1990’s.
Friday’s vote will only designate who the freshman class desires their leader to be for the next eight years. The GOP would have to remain in control the House and Renner will have to keep winning his district.
An official vote for House Speaker will still be required in 2022.