TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Rep. Darryl Rouson will lead Florida’s House Democrats in 2014-16.
The minority party’s caucus narrowly elected the St. Petersburg lawmaker as its next leader on Wednesday.
Rouson will succeed Rep. Perry Thurston of Plantation. In the unlikely event Democrats unseat Republicans as the majority party in the 2014 general election, Rouson would become speaker.
The Democratic caucus elected him over Rep. Mia Jones of Jacksonville 23-21 on a second ballot. They had tied on the first ballot.
The 58-year-old Rouson is a lawyer and former Republican who once supported then-GOP Gov. Jeb Bush. He also served on former Gov. Charlie Crist’s transition team when Crist was a Republican. Crist, too, has switched parties and now is considering running for governor again as a Democrat in 2014.