There are few surer bets in Florida politics right now than Jennifer Bradley being the next person elected to Florida’s Senate District 5.
The wife of incumbent Sen. Rob Bradley, the candidate will benefit from a star-studded fundraiser event Tuesday and over $600,000 in the incumbent’s political committee.
In a majority-Republican, largely rural North Florida district, there is no drama in this race at all. Some have called this a “coronation.”
But Mrs. Bradley, in an interview last week, let us know that despite institutional advantages, she takes nothing for granted.
“My message is simple: Judge me on my own merits. I am going out there and fighting for this seat. I’m not inheriting it and I’m not entitled to it. I am going to earn it,” the candidate said.
“Right now I’m focused 100% on getting elected. We are taking nothing for granted. During the election, I will talk about education and the environment because I’m passionate about both of those issues,” Bradley added.
She notes that the timing is right for her political debut.
“Our family has been blessed by our community. We have a successful business and have built great relationships with so many people. It’s natural to want to give back. With all three of our children now graduated from high school,” Bradley said, “the timing is right for me to make this commitment.”
She knows what a commitment it is.
“My husband has done a wonderful job for our community and our region. The job takes a lot of time and mental focus — I’ve seen firsthand the sacrifices he’s made. The good news is there won’t be any surprises. I know what I’m getting into,” Bradley said.
When asked who her legislative role model was, she didn’t have to search far for an answer.
“I’d say Travis Cummings. He gets it. This is about public service with the right priorities and a humble heart,” Bradley said.
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, Mr. 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.