Slate for statewide candidates finalized

The starting line was set for Florida’s 2014 elections Friday, with 36 House members and eight state Senators getting a free ride to new terms in the Legislature.

“It’s been a great year and we’re looking forward to exciting campaigns going forward – a lot of good candidates and a lot of democracy occurring,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner, after the noon closing of the state qualifying period passed. “I think it’s the best qualifying period we’ve had.”

There were no big surprises — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson didn’t run for governor, although that speculation subsided months ago — but one safe incumbent missed the deadline. Rep. Reggie Fullwood, D-Jacksonville, failed to get his papers in before noon, so no one qualified in House District 13.

That means the state will have to reopen the qualifying period in downtown Jacksonville, and Fullwood will have to get the paperwork glitch fixed.

State Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, was the last major statewide candidate to file his qualifying papers, challenging Attorney General Pam Bondi. But first, Thurston will have to get past fellow Democrat George Sheldon, who registered earlier in the week.

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