Republican Rep. Paul Renner may have just joined the Florida House, but he’s already getting a taste of the “permanent campaign” that characterizes the chamber.
After officially taking office in an April 7 swearing-in ceremony with Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, another electoral beneficiary of the long tail of Sen. John Thrasher‘s exit from the Legislature to head Florida State University, Renner filed his re-election paperwork a month later on May 6.
Renner defeated Democrat Adam Morley handily during an April special election in the stoutly Republican constituency of House District 24, where GOP-registered voters outnumber Democrats by about 46,000 to 38,000.
That election was called by Gov. Rick Scott to fill the vacant House seat left when then-Rep. (now Sen.) Travis Hutson left his seat to pursue Thrasher’s Senate District 6, which takes in a lot of the same Flagler County territory as HD 24.
Former Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart also wagered to make the jump, but was vanquished by Hutson in a public tête-à-tête between two sitting lawmakers, something of a rarity outside the decennial redistricting and reapportionment process. Hutson carried 52.2 percent of the vote on his way to the upper chamber.
Though Renner is but a rising redshirt freshman legislator, he has already made his (literal) mark on the Capitol — almost, anyway. He sponsored the House version of a Senate bill by Sen. Nancy Detert to formally change the name of Florida’s historic (or Old) Capitol to, well, the Florida Historic Capitol.
That bill is now before the governor, pending his review and action. The bill would be Renner’s first state law on the books, should Scott sign it.
Renner is a graduate of Davidson University and University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.
The Navy veteran sits on the Health & Human Services Subcommittee, Highway & Waterway Safety Subcommittee, Veteran & Military Affairs Subcommittee, and Health Innovation Subcommittee.