A second Republican has entered the race to succeed Rep. Brad Drake in House District 5.
Defuniak Springs Republican Shane Abbott opened a campaign account Monday to run for the seat, joining Marianna Republican Vance Coley.
HD 5 covers all of Holmes, Jackson, Walton, and Washington counties as well as part of Bay County. Drake cannot run for reelection next year because of term limits.
“Northwest Florida needs someone that understands and will fight for our way of life. Today, I’m honored to announce my campaign for the Florida House of Representatives,” Abbott said in a news release.
“I grew up here — and I’m committed to putting all my life experiences as a small business owner and community leader to work for Northwest Florida. Now more than ever, we need leaders who will fight for the conservative principles our country was founded on, and I’m ready for the fight.”
Abbott grew up in DeFuniak Springs and graduated from Pensacola Junior College and the University of Florida, where he received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy.
He returned home after college and worked at a local independent pharmacy for seven years before he and a business partner opened their own pharmacy, The Prescription Place, in 2006.
They have since opened a second location. Abbott and his family also own and operate the Firestone Tire Service Center in DeFuniak Springs.
The business owner has served on the Northwest Florida State College Board of Trustees since 2016 and is currently the vice chair.
He’s the vice president of Small Business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform, a statewide group of neighborhood pharmacists focused on preserving patient access to affordable prescription drugs, and he is a member of the Institutional Advisory Committee for Emerald Coast Technical College. He is also a board member of the Emerald Coast Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a member of Gideons.
Abbott and his wife, Holley, have been married for 25 years, and they have four children. The family attends Destiny Worship Center in Freeport.
Abbott is also an outdoorsman, a member of the National Rifle Association and a concealed weapons permit holder.
HD 5 is favorable to Republicans. Drake hasn’t faced a challenger in the general election since 2016, when he earned more than two-thirds of the vote against no-party candidate Jamey Westbrook. In 2014, he earned nearly three-quarters of the vote against Libertarian candidate Karen Schoen.
However, district lines will shift ahead of the 2022 election because of the once-per-decade reapportionment process.
As it stands, Coley has only raised $350 for his campaign since entering the race in June. Abbott’s first campaign finance report is due in mid-March.