Has Latvala, under investigation, gone underground?

Add Sarasota to the places Sen. Jack Latvala won’t be this week.

The Clearwater Republican, who is running for governor, canceled a campaign event with Sarasota Republicans scheduled for Thursday.

“Thank you so much for your support or consideration of Sen. Jack Latvala
for Governor of Florida.  We were looking forward to the meeting with Sen.
Latvala this Thursday the 9th.  However, a decision has been made to
postpone the event.  We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have
caused you,” read a message, signed by John McKay and John Patterson. The email was distributed by the Republican Party of Sarasota .

Latvala also canceled several campaign stops scheduled in the Treasure Coast this week.

Latvala is under investigation for allegations that he groped female aides and lobbyists and made verbally demeaning comments about their bodies. He has vehemently denied the allegations and hired Tallahassee lawyer Steve Andrews to represent him.

Andrews is asking that a retired law-enforcement officer conduct the investigation and that a retired judge handle any hearings in the matter.

“As one can easily understand, these allegations are incredibly serious and could permanently stain the reputation of a long-time public servant,” Andrews wrote Tuesday in a two-page letter to Senate President Joe Negron, who ordered the investigation.

Andrews asked that a retired judge be appointed as a special master, following an investigation by a former law enforcement officer.

“These reasonable requests will ensure that the investigation and disposition of these claims are handled in a professional and fair fashion These safeguards will not only protect Senator Latvala, they will likewise protect the complainants and enhance public confidence in the process,” Latvala’s lawyer wrote.