Jason Fischer, Clay Yarborough poised for Senate primary clash
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 2/12/19-Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, speaks during a technology roundtable discussion for Influence Magazine. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Who will replace Aaron Bean?

The 2022 political cycle will be active in Northeast Florida Republican primaries, with two current state Representatives facing off for an open Senate seat.

In the race to replace Sen. Aaron Bean in SD 4, Rep. Jason Fischer, the incumbent from HD 16 in Jacksonville’s Mandarin area, will square off against Rep. Clay Yarborough, who represents HD 12 in the Arlington area.

Both Fischer and Yarborough were elected in 2016, with competitive primaries proving to be the toughest races either has faced since.

Fischer was a member of the Duval County School Board for nearly a full term, resigning to run for the seat vacated by Rep. Charles McBurney in 2016. Despite opponent Dick Kravitz, a political veteran with deep roots in the northern part of the district, scoring McBurney’s backing, Fischer won the August primary by a comfortable margin.

Fischer was backed in that race by Mayor Lenny Curry, whose consultants overlapped with Fischer’s and who did a robocall for Fischer as well.

Both men won handily in each of the three General Elections since, and both are headed up the ranks in the House.

Fischer chairs the Government Operations Subcommittee as part of his duties on the larger State Affairs Committee. Fischer, who aspires to be a conservative reformer, will be interesting to watch in that role, especially in a year where cutting government will be a principal preoccupation for lawmakers.

Fischer will also serve as alternating chair of the Joint Select Committee on Collective Bargaining.

Yarborough has two subcommittee chairs. The third-term Republican will helm the Finance and Facilities Subcommittee and the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

When it comes down to legislative experience, Yarborough has it over Fischer, having served two full terms on the Jacksonville City Council, including the Council presidency. In what will be a feisty primary driven by Tallahassee political committee creative, expect pro-Fischer forces to make hay of tough votes and bad quotes over the years.

Of the two candidates, Fischer is best known for disruptive legislation. Over the years, he has backed reform bills that include an elected school superintendent for Duval County Schools, an ultimately successful push to cede school sales tax referendum monies to charter schools as well as public, and so on.

Fischer is even willing to buck the Governor when principle moves him, as a recent refile of a preemption measure that would eliminate local ordinances on vacation rentals and rest regulation with the state shows. Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke out against it last year, but Fischer is bringing it back, suggesting he believes that should the bill pass both the House and the Senate, sheer persistence might prevail.

Yarborough, meanwhile, may be best known for his work on a social conservative issues. His legislative efforts led to the incorporation of the Guide to a Healthy Marriage being incorporated into the Florida Bar’s Family Law Handbook in 2020.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Sonja Fitch

    January 15, 2021 at 3:54 am

    Northeast Florida both of these white rich men are losers! They are both goptrump death cult sociopaths! Neither are worthy to be a Senator! It has been bad enough with Qanon disciple and his wife, Cord Byrd being a Florida Senator! Vote Democrat blue in 2022!

  • zakrey bissell

    January 18, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    There could be a chance for Aaron Bean may go to Ron DeSantis’s Administration soon in 2021 and for there may be a special election for his State Senate Seat.

  • Jacob Williamson

    January 19, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    You incorrectly reported on Yarborough’s committee assignments. He’s the vice chair of healthcare appropriations, not chair. It’s even on the Florida House website. Poor reporting as usual from Florida Politics.

Comments are closed.


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