State Rep. Chip LaMarca has filed paperwork kicking off his 2020 re-election bid in an effort to keep the only red seat fully within Broward County in the GOP’s hands.
LaMarca took over for term-limited state Rep. George Moraitis after winning the seat back in November.
No other candidates have stepped forward yet to formally challenge LaMarca, though Democrats will likely try once more to grab the seat.
Thus far, however, LaMarca has shown a desire to broaden his base outside just Republicans.
LaMarca has struck a cordial tone with his Democratic colleagues at delegation meetings, often using humor to disarm his purported political rivals. And thus far during his freshman term, LaMarca has avoided leading the charge on politically-divisive issues.
That’s apparent in the two bills sponsored by LaMarca so far.
One (HB 325) focuses on the state’s beach management program. It aims to work in concert with another (SB 174), filed by the late Dorothy Hukill, to re-prioritize where beach renourishment funding is used.
The second bill (HB 341) deals with collection of passenger information by law enforcement in the event of a crash.
LaMarca is pro-life, skeptical of full legalization of marijuana and has spoken out against legislation raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. But along with those traditionally conservative views, LaMarca also talks about climate change and supports same-sex marriage.
Moderation may be a dirty word in some districts, but it may serve the GOP well inside HD 93.
LaMarca also has more than a decade of experience serving the district on a local level prior to his run for state House. He spent eight years on the Broward County Commission, first winning a seat back in 2010. Before that, LaMarca served several years on the Lighthouse Point City Commission.
As county commissioner, LaMarca was a vocal defender of Uber and a proponent of cracking down on pill mills. He also pushed to revert zero-tolerance legislation for dogs who hurt humans, removing mandatory euthanization for a first bite.
The path from city hall to Tallahasseee is one that LaMarca has said will help him in his time in the Legislature.
“As we can see from all the way up to the top office in the land, that you don’t have to start at one specific spot and go north,” LaMarca said at a meeting between the Broward legislative delegation and city leaders in December.
“But I think it’s helpful. I think it’s helpful to have some city experience and helpful to then gain some experience at the county level. And then, should you decide you want to go to the state legislature, you’ll have these [Home Rule] issues ingrained in who you are.”
LaMarca won the seat with a 7-point margin. That gives him some cushion, though not an insurmountable one, if the Democrats have a particularly strong cycle and/or challenger in 2020. But incumbency may allow the GOP lawmaker to expand that lead, giving the Democrats a challenge to turn the seat blue.