The Florida Retail Federation announced Thursday that it is endorsing Gonzalez Republican Rebekah Bydlak in the race to succeed term-limited Rep. Clay Ingam in House District 1.
“Rebekah is a successful and energetic candidate who has had the best interests of Floridians and business owners in mind during her professional career,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Living on the Florida border, she knows firsthand how unnecessary taxes like the business rent tax have hurt Florida businesses and forced others to start somewhere else. Her fresh ideas and desire to make Florida the best place to live and work will be a big benefit to retailers when she’s a member of the Florida House.”
FRF is the second major backer to endorse Bydlak this week. On Monday, she picked up a nod from the Florida Realtors. Monday also saw Bydlak roll out her first TV ad of the campaign cycle, which touts her as a “Fresh Conservative Choice” for Escambia County voters.
Bydlak’s main challenger is fellow Republican Mike Hill, a former member of the House who served from 2013 to 2016. Milton Republican Lisa Doss is also running for the Republican nomination.
Bydlak held a better than 5-to-1 cash advantage in the money race at the end of May, and through June 22 the gulf grew wider with $116,000 in the bank for Bydlak compared to $20,000 on hand for Hill.
Vikki Garrett and Franscine Mathis are competing for the Democratic nomination, however, the winner of the Republican primary is the odds-on favorite to succeed Ingram in the deep-red district.
HD 1 covers most of Escambia County, including the communities of Century, Molino, Gonzalez, Ensley, Ferry Pass, Belleview and Brent. Ingram has held the seat since it was redrawn in 2012. Before that, he held the old HD 2.