Democrat Joseph Abruzzo will not seek re-election to state House seat

    9:23 p.m Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 Politics
State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo in 2013. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, announced late Wednesday he will not seek re-election this year after a decade in the Florida Legislature.

Abruzzo, 37, was elected to a House seat in 2008 and to the state Senate in 2012. He opted to return to the House in 2016 after a court-ordered redistricting plan threw him into the same Senate district as two other Democratic Senate incumbents.

Abruzzo, who has been going through a divorce, said he decided against running again so he can spend more time with his 3-year-old son.

“The ultimate reason is time with my son…I’m ready to come home,” Abruzzo said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

Though he has spent his entire Tallahassee career in the minority party, Abruzzo gained a reputation for being able to get legislation passed in the Republican-controlled Legislature. He counts 48 bills that he has sponsored that have become law during his House and Senate stints. Those include “Nicole’s Law,” a 2009 bill requiring young horseback riders to wear helmets, and a bill to make the Silver Alert program for missing seniors part of the state’s Missing Endangered Persons Law.

Abruzzo said he did not plan to announce he was leaving the Legislature until next week, when the 2018 session ends, but his name showed up Wednesday in a list of House members who would be giving farewell speeches.

Abruzzo’s Palm Beach County House District 81 is west of Florida’s Turnpike from the Broward County line to the southern edge of Wellington and extends west to the Glades. The Democrat-leaning seat is likely to attract a crowd of Democratic candidates for the Aug. 28 primary.