The only current Democrat lined up for a forthcoming state House special election is finding support across party lines.
Former Republican state lawmaker Nancy Argenziano on Wednesday backed Ryan Terrell in his bid for state House District 7.
A vacancy and subsequent special election are anticipated for the seat. Gov. Ron DeSantis tapped the incumbent, state Rep. Halsey Beshears, to lead the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Argenziano had joined 2018 gubernatorial candidate Darcy Richardson as his running mate on the Reform Party ticket. The two received less than 1 percent of the vote but finished as the top alternative option outside the two major parties.
Before that race, Argenziano served in both chambers of the Legislature. She also served as chair of the Florida Public Service Commission under then-Gov. Charlie Crist.
Argenziano, who had served some of the counties that make up the sprawling HD 7, described the Republican-controlled Legislature as a form of “absolute power.”
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely and we need a check on abuse from one party power as we have had,” Argenziano said. “District 7 encompasses counties that I served in my Senate District and I plan to let all of my supporters of those counties know that I have full confidence in Ryan Terrell and hope they give him a fair shake in this special election and listen to his vision for ensuring no one gets left behind in this economy.”
Terrell, who has shaped his candidacy in part around economic development, called Argenziano a “fighter for Florida consumers, working class and rural communities, the environment, and our small businesses.”
Three Republican candidates have said they will compete for HD 7 and have opened campaign accounts. They include Mike Watkins, the CEO of child-welfare group Big Bend Community Based Care; Jason Shoaf, a businessman and member of the Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors; and Ralph Thomas, a Wakulla County Commissioner.