Rep. Cord Byrd is leaving his House District 11 seat and running for Senate, leaving an opening that potential candidates are already looking to fill.
Personal injury lawyer Heath Brockwell announced his bid for the seat encompassing Nassau and eastern Duval Counties Wednesday via news release, continuing a trend of candidates launching very early in the 2022 cycle.
Brockwell, who practices in Jacksonville Beach and lives in Atlantic Beach, serves as the Jacksonville Beaches Bar Association treasurer. He is running as a constitutional conservative.
“Today, I am announcing my candidacy for the Florida House of Representatives, District 11,” Brockwell said. “District 11 deserves continued constitutional conservative leadership in Tallahassee that is paramount for Florida’s future success.”
The candidate offered another quote describing how he perceives his role if elected.
“Washington, D.C., is in ruins after this past election. Florida needs representatives in Tallahassee who will stand up to an overreaching federal government, and I am ready to fight for all of Florida’s citizens,” Brockwell contended.
He says family and friends urged him to run, and in an email, Brockwell stresses his deep beach roots.
“I have lived and worked at the beaches for over 25 years. I have represented countless clients in court and have owned a small business for the last 11 years. I believe my work experience and community involvement has provided me with a unique perspective to represent District 11 in Tallahassee.”
As a former Reserve Police Officer for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Brockwell says he prioritizes public safety issues.
“Floridians must feel safe and protected in their homes, at the beach, or in the grocery store. Public Safety is my No. 1 priority,” the candidate said.
Growing small businesses by cutting taxes and fees and fighting federal overreach are other priorities.
Zach Whitson is running the campaign, and, at least for now, there is no soft money political committee supporting his effort.
The current representative from House District 11, meanwhile, is staying neutral, he told us Wednesday.
Byrd has “no plans to endorse” in the primary, noting that there are “many qualified people who are interested in serving in the state House.”
The incumbent’s trajectory six years ago illustrates what it takes to win a state House seat in Northeast Florida. A lot of it is grassroots.
Byrd was elected in 2016, after a big-dollar donnybrook of a primary in which he overcame well-funded candidates, spending less per vote than the others.
The secret, he said, was ground game. He knocked on 10,000 doors ahead of the primary, an effort that likely will have to be matched by any serious candidate this time around.
Assuming House District 11 holds up under its current mapping for 2022, the real drama will be in the August Republican primary. Byrd won the general in the 2020 election by more than a two to one margin.