Tallahassee attorney James Messer, Jr. filed to run Thursday for Leon County’s House District 9 seat.
Messer is the first Republican candidate to file for the left-leaning seat held by term-limited Democratic Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda.
“I believe it’s time for reasonable people to be heard again. I believe it is time for Leon County to have a voice in the Florida House of Representatives again,” Messer said on his campaign website. “For too long our representatives have run to the fringes on the left and the right leaving the majority of us, who live and work in the great middle, voiceless.”
Messer filed for the seat in person at the Division of Elections office.
The candidate, a former Army helicopter pilot and partner at the Fonvielle Lewis Foote & Messer law firm, plans to formally announce his campaign at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Historic Capitol.
His campaign platform includes raises for teacher salaries and public employees as well as increased funding for economic development initiatives in Tallahassee.
Disregarding his platform, Messer will likely have a hard time gaining traction in District 9 as a Republican. In District 9, Democrats have a 14,000-voter advantage over Republicans.
While it’s not as tilted District 8 next door, Bradley Maxwell, who ran as a Republican in 2012, only captured 38 percent of the vote.
Messer faces former Democratic Rep. Loranne Ausley, who held the seat from 2000 to 2008, and Arnitta Jane Grice-Walker, an elementary school teacher also running as a Democrat.
Ausley has built up a nice war chest, with $93,000 in contributions heading into August. Grice-Walker had only raised $175 through the same date.