Bay County Commissioner Philip Griffitts will vie to replace Rep. Jay Trumbull in House District 6.
Trumbull is term limited and can’t run again in 2022. But until this month, no one had jumped into the race to succeed him.
“We’re excited to launch this campaign,” Griffitts said in a statement. “I believe my experience serving as a County Commissioner will help me serve effectively in the Legislature.”
Panama City businessman Grey Dodge is the other challenger in the race. However, he told Florida Politics on Friday that he would drop out of the race to endorse Griffitts after discussing the matter over coffee that morning.
“I think he’s a strong community leader and he’s been a strong leader through the coronavirus pandemic,” Dodge said.
Griffitts and his brother are co-owners of a home construction business after recently completing a successful sale of their hotel and hospitality business based in Panama City Beach. In his campaign announcement, he lauded his experience in private enterprise, which he said would help him stay connected to citizens, consumers and small businesses.
“We must continue to push for lower taxes, less regulation, and a fully restored Bay County,” he said. “State Representative Jay Trumbull has done a phenomenal job the last 8 years, and I want to continue that good work standing up for our community and the values that have made the Panhandle the best region of Florida.”
On the Bay County Commission, Griffitts represents District 5, which encompasses all of Panama City Beach. He is also the immediate past chairman of the County Commission.
Griffitts served six years on the Panama City Beach Civil Service Board and nine years on the Bay County Planning Commission. He currently serves on the Bay County Tourist Development Council.
He is a member of the Bay Medical Sacred Heart board of trustees. He is also a member of the Florida State-Panama City Foundation Development Board and has served as the chairman of the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce.
Griffitts, a third-generation Bay County resident, graduated in 1989 from Bay High School. He earned a political science degree in 1993 from Florida State University in Tallahassee.
He has worked at his family-owned and operated Panama City Beach businesses, Sugar Sands Inn and Suites and La Quinta Inn and Suites.
He and his wife, Laura, have been married for 20 years and have two grown daughters, Katie and Anna Claire. In their spare time, Griff and Laura enjoy boating, golf and surf fishing.
HD 6 covers all of coastal Bay County, including Panama City, Panama City Beach, Lynn Haven and Mexico Beach. It has a heavy Republican advantage.
Trumbull, a Panama City Republican who has represented the district since 2014, currently holds the seat but he cannot run for reelection next year because of term limits.