3rd Democrat enters HD 9 race for 2016


A third Democrat entered the race to take over for termed-out Democratic Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda last week, setting up another obstacle for former Rep. Loranne Ausley.

Joshua Johnson entered the race on Jan. 29, and joins Ausley and Arnitta Jane Grice-Walker in pursuit of the Democratic nomination in the left-leaning District 9 seat.

Ausley, who held the Leon County seat from 2000 to 2008, is the prohibitive favorite in the race. Since announcing she would seek the seat in May she has been raking in campaign contributions and has about $169,000 on-hand.

Grice-Walker, an elementary school teacher, hasn’t been as successful.

Her filings show she was about $600 in the red as of Dec. 31. She attempted to dethrone Rehwinkel Vasilinda last cycle, but failed to garner even 20 percent of the vote in the two-way Democratic Primary.

Also in the race is Republican Jim Messer, who filed in early September.

He has been able to pull in nearly $80,000 in contributions, even beating Ausley’s total his first month on the trail, though he faces a tough road getting into office, especially in a presidential election year.

Democrats carry a 14,000-voter advantage in HD9, and Rehwinkel Vasilinda hasn’t had any trouble overcoming her GOP opponents. She beat Kirk Headley-Purdue in the 2010 cycle with just under 59 percent of the vote and in 2012 she easily dispatched Bradley Maxwell 62 to 38 on Election Day.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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