Challenger emerges for Bobby Payne over Black Creek 'boondoggle' - Florida Politics

Challenger emerges for Bobby Payne over Black Creek ‘boondoggle’

A Starke Democrat entered the race for North Central Florida’s House District 19, where they will take on incumbent Republican Bobby Payne, as well as Libertarian Ryan Ramsey.

Paul Still, an elected Supervisor for the Bradford County Soil and Water Conservation Board, was motivated to run by a water issue Payne supported that he sees as a “boondoogle.”

The issue at hand is the $42 million Black Creek Water Resource Development Project.

Per the St. Johns River Water Management District, “the project will capture up to 10 million gallons per day of water flow from the Black Creek South Fork during during periods of sufficiently high flow. The water will then be pumped through a transmission system toward Camp Blanding in the Keystone Heights area and discharged to an Upper Floridan aquifer recharge system and into Alligator Creek.”

However, according to Still, the project will not help the lakes. Instead, it will also turn off the spigot for further funding of water projects, he said.

“The Legislature will say ‘Well, you had your shot,'” Still said.

Still is not completely critical of Payne’s tenure in the Legislature, lauding him for being better at pushing for money for the region than his predecessor, Rep. Charles Van Zant.

But the Black Creek project is a dealbreaker for the Starke Democrat.

While Still won’t face primary opposition, the struggle is real in deep red HD 19 for the former chair of the Bradford County Democrats, as the party is not well-organized throughout much of the district.

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