Top Panhandle Republicans raising money for Michelle Salzman, challenger to Mike Hill
Republican Michelle Salzman will pose a primary challenge to Rep. Mike Hill, saying he has passed ‘zero bills’ in Tallahassee.

Don Gaetz and Frank White are hosting a fundraiser for her campaign.

Pensacola Republican Michelle Salzman is getting support from some major Republican politicians in her quest to unseat Rep. Mike Hill.

Salzman is currently the only candidate challenging Hill in the Republican primary for House District 1, which covers part of Escambia County.

She filed for the seat in late June, shortly after Hill made headlines for laughing off a suggestion that people start stoning gays. That recording and the Pensacola Republican’s subsequent non-apology led politicians on both sides of the aisle to condemn him.

Since then, Salzman has consistently outraised Hill, piling up nearly $13,000 in campaign cash through the end of November.

Hill has raised about $19,000 since he filed for reelection in February, though only $6,640 came in after the recording of him laughing surfaced.

As it stands, he has about $7,500 in the bank compared to $6,800 for Salzman.

Now it appears that Salzman is the pick for some of the major Republicans in the district.

An invitation lists former Senate President Don Gaetz and former Rep. Frank White on the host committee for an upcoming campaign fundraiser.

The reception will be at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Fish House, 600 S. Barracks St., in Pensacola start.

Notably, the 2020 Legislative Session also starts Jan. 14 and marks a 60-day window where Hill and other sitting lawmakers are barred from raising money for their reelection campaigns.

That gives Salzman the opportunity to catch up to Hill in overall fundraising ahead of the Aug. 18 primary election.

The winner of the primary is a shoo-in to take over the district, which is among the most reliably Republican districts in the state — Hill won the seat in 2018 with about 61% of the vote.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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