There are still more than five months until the Republican primary, but Greg Steube has already won the race to be the first candidate for the state House District 67 seat to qualify for the ballot.
According to the Florida Division of Elections, Steube has submitted 1,623 verified petition signatures as of March 23 -- 126 more than required to win a spot on the ballot.
"Words are not enough to express the thanks and gratitude that I have for the many volunteers who have sacrificed their time and effort in gathering the necessary signed petitions for my name to be placed on the ballot," Steube said in a news release. "It is an example of the grassroots campaign and widespread support that exists throughout the district, and I will continue to work hard and provide real leadership to earn the support of the local community."
Only one other candidate in the race, Republican Robert K. McCann, has notified the Division of Elections that they would submit petition signatures to get on the ballot. As of March 22, he had submitted 1,024 verified signatures.
The required number of 1,623 is equal to 1 percent of the number of registered voters in House District 67, which is comprised of parts of Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.
The other announced candidates in the race, Republicans Jeremiah J. Guccione and Marie Nisco, and Democrat Z.J. Hafeez, have not indicated they will win a ballot spot by submitting petitions.
(The District 67 incumbent, Ron Reagan, cannot run for re-election because of term limits.)
Candidates with a party affiliation can also qualify for a spot on the ballot by paying a fee of $1,781. 82, which is equal to 6 percent of the salary for state representative. Non-party-affiliated candidates can pay a fee of $1,187.88, which is equal to 4 percent of the salary.
The qualifying deadline is June 18. The primaries are on Aug. 24, and the general election is Nov. 2.