While there is still a year between now and the 2020 Senate District 5 GOP primary, the smart money is on Jennifer Bradley to win the nomination.
Mrs. Bradley’s husband Rob is the current incumbent. The Fleming Island Republican serves as the Senate appropriations chair, a traditionally prized position for those who value consideration in the state budget.
As Florida Politics reported first, Jennifer Bradley opened her campaign account at the front of August.
A “campaign kickoff” event Aug. 27 at Green Cove Springs’ Clay Theater suggests she will have considerable institutional support.
Senate President Bill Galvano and President-Designate Wilton Simpson will be there, along with the current incumbent, Sen. Aaron Bean, and Sen. Travis Hutson.
Rep. Travis Cummings, the incumbent’s best friend, will be there with House colleagues Chuck Brannan, Chuck Clemons, and non-Chucks Bobby Payne and Charlie Stone.
A cavalcade of county level politicians will also be in attendance.
Mrs. Bradley will be raising money for two accounts.
The Jennifer Bradley for State Senate campaign has a $1,000 maximum contribution. Odds are favorable that Mrs. Bradley may draw some checks that approach that threshold.
The incumbent’s perpetually-active Working for Florida’s Families political committee will, appropriately enough, stay in the family.
For those who seek to write checks of $1,001 or more, that account can handle those contributions.
Currently, roughly $650,000 sits in the committee coffers, suggesting that the candidate will have some resources to get her message to the voters.
Bradley, a lawyer and the owner of Hibernia Property Management, is currently the only major party candidate vying for the seat. She joins Libertarian Matthew Charles McCary.
SD 5 covers a broad swath of North Florida, including the whole of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee and Union counties as well as a piece of western Marion County.
The district has a definite GOP advantage — according to the most recent statistics from the Florida Division of Elections, about 51 percent of the district’s voters are registered Republicans while about 29 percent are registered Democrats.
In 2016, the last time the seat was on the ballot, Bradley didn’t face a challenger. That cycle also saw the district go for President Donald Trump at the top of the ticket by a 3-to-1 margin.