Rep. Matt Willhite is looking to stay put in the House, opting against a run in Senate District 29.
“I greatly respect and appreciate the many words of encouragement from my colleagues in the House, my constituents and supporters, fellow first responders and friends,” Willhite said in announcing he would not seek the SD 29 seat.
“While the encouragement has been humbling, my family and I have decided not to enter the race for Senate District 29. I will continue to run for reelection and be a voice for the residents of [House District] 86.”
“With Sen. Rader’s announcement that he is not seeking re-election, I have received a number of encouraging calls to run for the state Senate seat,” Willhite told Florida Politics last week.
“I am very excited and eager to continue to serve my community, especially during these trying times and look forward to continued conversations in the next few days on the best path forward.”
That path forward will see Willhite remaining in the HD 86 contest. Susan Kufdakis Rivera has also filed to run for the seat as a Republican.
Willhite is one of several potential contenders who have turned down an SD 29 bid. Division of Emergency Management (DEM) Executive Director Jared Moskowitz, former Sen. Joe Abruzzo and Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay have all rejected a run.
So far, Rep. Tina Polsky and former Rep. Irv Slosberg have said they’ll seek the Democratic nomination in the left-leaning SD 29. First-time candidate Brian Andrew Norton is also running as a Republican.
SD 29 covers portions of Palm Beach County including South Bay, Belle Glade and Wellington. The district also dips into Broward County covering Parkland, the site of the 2018 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which killed 17 people.