Don’t call it a comeback, because it isn’t yet.
Former Rep. Mike Hill opened a campaign account to return to the House last month, but his first three weeks on the trail haven’t put much of a dent into Rebekah Bydlak’s lead in Escambia County-based HD 1, where current Rep. Clay Ingram faces term limits in 2018.
Hill’s effort brought in just $5,900, including $1,000 from a committee tied to Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, $1,000 a piece from Pensacola flight instructor Mark Freymiller and his wife, Mia, and another $1,000 from Gulf Breeze chiropractor John Newlin.
Bydlak, for her part, piled on another $14,272 for her campaign account in September, a respectable follow up to her banner opening month, which saw her pull in $50,000 for her campaign and another $10,000 for her political committee.
Heading into October, she had about $57,000 on hand in her campaign account.
After 24 days in the race, Hill’s total puts him just a few bucks ahead of the Democratic candidate in the race, Vikki Garrett, who was able to scrounge up $5,700 for her campaign last month despite running in one of the most hopelessly unfavorable districts for Democrats statewide.
Hill made a valiant effort in the SD 1 primary last year, but his decision to jump ship in HD 2 and race for pink slips against Doug Broxson is probably starting to sting again.
A year after that 13-point loss in the primary, HD 2 has moved on with freshman Rep. Frank White and HD 1 is flirting with an up-and-comer in the next generation Republicans in Bydlak. There’s plenty of time before primary season rolls around, but Hill’s in for a competition if he wants his old job back.