Six years out, the House Speaker race for 2022-2024 is already heating up.
First-term Jacksonville Republican Rep. Paul Renner, the early frontrunner in the contest, has already raised more than $550,000 for his committee, “Florida Foundation for Liberty,” and has been using that money to spread his influence among the class of 2016.
Renner should walk into the contest with healthy support from the Northeast Florida delegation, but the Jacksonville Republican looks to be courting some support from Southwest Florida.
According to newly filed finance reports, Renner’s committee last week gave $1,000 contributions to Naples Republicans Byron Donalds and Bob Rommel, who are running in HD 80 and HD 106, respectively.
Foundation for Liberty also shows $20,000 contributions to committees “Florida First Forever” and “Liberty Leadership Fund” during the same reporting period.
The Rommel and Donalds contributions add to the list of current and would-be Republican lawmakers Renner has plied for support this cycle, including Jayer Williamson, John Couriel and Frank White.
Renner’s main competitors for the speakership are expected to be Republican Rep. Jamie Grant and Brevard County Republican Randy Fine, who has been angling for the 2022 position despite not having been elected to the House yet.
Fine’s committee, “Foundation for our Children’s Future,” chipped in to Donalds’ and Rommel’s campaigns last month, and also contributed to White, Williamson and Couriel, among many others, earlier in the cycle.
On Aug. 12, Renner’s committee had about $151,000 cash-on-hand, while Fine’s had about $153,000.
Neither Renner nor Fine faces a primary challenger, and Grant is set for another term without opposition in District 64.