J. W. Grant

James William "J.W." Grant (born September 20, 1982) is a Republican politician from Florida. Since August 2020, he has been Florida's chief information officer and director of the Division of State Technology within the state Department of Management Services. Previously, he represented parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties in the Florida House of Representatives from 2010–2014 and 2015–2020.

James "J.W." Grant
J. W. Grant.jpg
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
In office
April 22, 2015 – August 21, 2020
Preceded byHimself
Constituency64th district
In office
November 2, 2010 – November 4, 2014
Preceded byKevin Ambler
Succeeded byHimself
Constituency47th district (2010–2012)
64th district (2012–2014)
Personal details
Born
James William Grant[1][2]

(1982-09-20) September 20, 1982 (age 38)
Tampa, Florida
Political partyRepublican
Alma materAuburn University (BS)
Stetson College of Law (JD)
ProfessionAttorney

HistoryEdit

Grant was born in Tampa, to John A. Grant, Jr., a former member of the Florida House and Florida Senate. He attended Auburn University, from which he graduated with a degree in marketing in 2006. After graduation, Grant was a student at the Stetson College of Law, receiving his J.D. degree in 2009.

Florida House of RepresentativesEdit

In 2010, when incumbent State Representative Kevin Ambler could not seek another term in the House due to term limits, Grant ran to succeed him in the 47th District, which included parts of Hillsborough County. In the Republican primary, Grant ran against Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair, Irene Guy, and Tom Aderhold. Grant won with a 37% plurality and moved onto the general election, where he faced the Democratic nominee, former congressional candidate Michael Steinberg. Grant won the general election with 59% of the vote.

In 2012, when Florida House districts were redrawn, Grant opted to run in the newly created 64th District, which included most of the territory he had previously represented, but added parts of Pinellas County. He was unopposed in both the Republican primary and the general election.

While in the legislature, Grant encountered legislation that aimed to prevent abuses at unlicensed religious children's homes, following an investigation that the Tampa Bay Times did that revealed that "virtually anyone can claim a list of religious ideals, take in children and subject them to punishment and isolation that verge on torture--so long as they quote chapter and verse to justify it."[3] After legislation was proposed that would require the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies (FACCCA) to disclose information about homes that they accredited, Grant authored an amendment that would "remove any new requirements of FACCCA," citing inefficiences within Florida state government, but the amendment was ultimately unsuccessful.[4]

2015 special electionEdit

In 2014, Grant ran for re-election, and was opposed by Miriam Steinberg in the Republican primary. While no other candidates had filed to run, because a write-in candidate, Daniel John Matthews, also filed to run for the seat, the primary between Grant and Steinberg was closed to only registered Republicans. Steinberg's husband filed a lawsuit to disqualify Matthews from the ballot, as Matthews did not live in the district at the time of qualifying. The state circuit court removed Matthews from the ballot, opening the Republican primary to all registered voters in the district, invalidating the results of the closed Republican primary that had been held in August, and putting the election on the general election ballot in November.[5] Grant beat Steinberg in the open primary 60–40%. However, an appeals court ruled that Matthews was improperly removed from the ballot, so the Florida House of Representatives voted to invalidate the results and declare the seat vacant.[6]

Governor Rick Scott then called for a special election to be held in the district. Grant, Steinberg, and Matthews all planned to run in the special election, but Steinberg refused to pay the qualifying fee for the special election, as she claimed that the qualifying fee that she paid for the invalidated election should have transferred. As a result, Steinberg did not qualify and Grant won the Republican primary unopposed.[7] The Tampa Tribune criticized the complex legal situation that caused the special election to occur, and called Matthews' candidacy "a sham and affront to our electoral process," and ultimately endorsed Grant, praising him for representing the district well.[8] Ultimately, Grant defeated Matthews with 91% of the vote.[9]

During the campaign, speculation abounded that Grant, who ordinarily would have been term-limited in 2018 had the 2014 general election results been valid, would be able to run for re-election until 2024 under the state's term limits laws, and that Grant would be an attractive candidate for Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives for the 2022-2024 legislative term. Grant refused to address the speculation, noting, "My focus is on getting re-elected. Anything else is a distraction."[10]

Chief information officerEdit

In August 2020, Grant resigned from the House and withdrew from his reelection to take a job as Florida's chief information officer and director of the Division of State Technology within the state Department of Management Services.[11][12][13] As a legislator, Grant had sponsored a 2020 law reorganizing the Division of State Technology and eliminating some of the qualifications that the chief information officer was required to have.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.floridabar.org/directories/find-mbr/profile/?num=72531
  2. ^ https://www.martindale.com/tampa/florida/james-william-grant-300328106-a/
  3. ^ Zayas, Alexandra (October 26, 2012). "Religious exemption at some Florida children's homes shields prying eyes". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Zayas, Alexandra (April 25, 2013). "Legislation addressing abuse at unlicensed religious children's homes passes House after failed attempt to strip it down". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  5. ^ Mitchell, Tia (July 31, 2014). "Judge disqualifies write-in challenger to Rep. Jamie Grant, opens primary". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  6. ^ McGrory, Kathleen (November 18, 2014). "Florida House rejects Tampa's District 64 election results; special vote to come". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  7. ^ Rosica, James L. (December 16, 2014). "Steinberg drops out of race for HD64 seat". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Editorial: In absurd election, the Tribune recommends Jamie Grant for House District 64". Tampa Tribune. April 20, 2015. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  9. ^ Dawson, Anastasia (April 21, 2015). "Grant crushes write-in candidate in special election for House District 64". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  10. ^ McGrory, Kathleen (November 26, 2014). "Unusual election could yield benefits for Tampa Rep. Jamie Grant". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  11. ^ Contorno, Steve (August 12, 2020). "Florida Rep. Jamie Grant abruptly withdraws re-election bid for Tampa Bay area seat". Tampa Bay Times.
  12. ^ https://www.floridadaily.com/james-grant-bowing-out-of-the-florida-house-to-become-floridas-cio/
  13. ^ https://www.wlrn.org/2020-08-13/rep-james-grant-leaving-house-for-administration-role

External linksEdit

Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by
Kevin Ambler
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 47th district

2010–2012
Succeeded by
Linda Stewart
Preceded by
Kelli Stargel
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 64th district

2012–2014
Succeeded by
Himself
Preceded by
Himself
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 64th district

2015–2020
Succeeded by
TBD