The chairman of the Florida Senate Reapportionment Committee and the designated president of the Florida Senate, Don Gaetz, represents one of only eight districts that the Florida Supreme Court ruled needed to be redrawn. Another of those districts is the one held by Sen. Greg Evers.
The court didn’t like how the two districts split the north and south of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay counties and let two Okaloosa County residents dominate those seats.The Florida League of Women Voters had argued that one of those districts should be just Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
A special session has been set for next week to redraw the maps the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional. Most likely a new District 1 will be drawn that covers only Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
Who are the most likely candidates for the new District 1? Evers could move into the new district, but few believe that he would carry our two counties.
Most likely candidates are the current state representatives: Clay Ford, Clay Ingram and Doug Broxson. Ford is the most likely since his House district is the most difficult to win and he is approaching his term limit.
Others: Dave Murzin or Jerry Maygarden could pop back up, as could former Santa Rosa School Board member and Gulf Breeze Mayor Ed Gray. County Commissioners Gene Valentino and Grover Robinson are viable. In Santa Rosa County, Don Salter might run. One of the Bensons could do it – Lois, Holly or Megan. Others on the Pensacola City Council: Maren Deweese and Brian Spencer.
From the business community: attorney/developer Garrett Walton, bankers Tommy Tait, Blaise Adams and Bo Carter, commercial real estate broker Justin Beck, beer distributor David Bear, banker/speaker Carol Carlan, State Farm agent Mike Hill.
On the Democrat-side, DeeDee Davis and Buzz Ritchie–both who served in the Florida House–will be tempted. Lumon May has been mentioned, but he is committed to running for County Commission. Others like Hugh King and Marie Young might consider it. Pensacola City Councilman Larry Johnson is a possible Democrat candidate.