Former Democratic candidate for Agriculture Commissioner Roy David Walker is joining the race to replace GOP state Rep. Holly Raschein in House District 120. Walker made the announcement in a Friday news release.
Walker becomes the first Democrat to enter the contest. Four Republicans, meanwhile, have already filed for the seat.
Walker ran in 2018 for Agriculture Commissioner, now held by Democrat Nikki Fried. He earned more than 25 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, finishing second place to Fried.
“I am a part of a new generation of Florida Leaders committed to protecting Florida’s environment, working to (increase) funding for public schools, and fighting for every Floridian to have equal access to quality, affordable health care,” Walker said in announcing his HD 120 run Friday.
“That’s what the people of District 120 can count on me to fight for in Tallahassee.”
Walker is a former biological scientist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He says he resigned after former Gov. Rick Scott purportedly ordered Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) employees not to use the phrases “climate change” or “global warming” in communications.
DEP officials denied such a policy at the time and Chris Hartline, spokesman for Scott in his new position as U.S. Senator, continues to refute the claim.
Walker did face some questions – still unanswered – regarding his finances during his 2018 race, lending his campaign $160,000 despite being self-employed.
So far, Walker has the Democratic nomination to himself. On the Republican side, former House candidates Rhonda Rebman Lopez and Jose Felix Peixoto, Islamorada Councilman and former Mayor Jim Mooney, and attorney Alexandria Suarez are all competing for that party’s nomination.
Peixoto is the newest Republican entrant into the race. He joined the contest earlier this week.
HD 120 covers Monroe County as well as parts of southern Miami-Dade County.
Raschein was reelected 53% to 47% in 2018, but is term-limited in 2020. Without an incumbent in the race, Democrats are hoping they can make up that 6-point margin and flip the seat blue.