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Deutch Officially Enters Race to Succeed Wexler

State Sen. Ted Deutch (D) threw his hat into the special election to replace Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) Thursday afternoon, one day after the seven-term Congressman announced his intention to resign his seat in January.

“This is a time of extraordinary challenges both at home and abroad. I am running for Congress to bring economic security to the citizens of South Florida,— Deutch said in a statement posted to his new campaign Web site, “My leadership and proven success as a state Senator is based on simple hard work and remembering that the people always come first. This is the same commitment that I will bring to Congress.—

Deutch is a Wexler ally who won his state Senate seat in 2006 in part because the Congressman backed him over a better-known, self-funded state lawmaker who outspent Deutch 5-to-1 in that contest. Deutch now holds the Senate seat that Wexler held before he ran for Congress.

Wexler hinted on Wednesday that he would make an endorsement in the special election and several Democratic insiders expect the Congressman to back Deutch.

Other potential primary competitors in the safe Democratic seat are state Sen. Jeremy Ring, Broward Mayor Stacy Ritter, West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, former Broward County Commissioner Ben Graber and businessman Jose Ruiz.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has not set a date for the special election in the 19th district, but Wexler is set to begin his new job as president of the nonprofit Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation on Jan. 2.