Two Republican legislators seeking their party’s nomination in Senate District 4 diverge on affirming a new gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe.
The Seminole Compact, a policy priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis, was ratified by the Senate Tuesday, and awaits House approval. However, at least one Republican in the Duval delegation will not back the measure.
Rep. Clay Yarborough, the Arlington Republican who represents House District 12, will be a no vote on the Compact. He was expected to be at the Rally for Florida’s Future, an anti-Compact event held Tuesday at the Florida Capitol, but was unable to attend. He told Florida Politics he “continues to oppose the Compact in its current form.”
Yarborough’s opposition is not surprising. Going back to his time on the Jacksonville City Council, he opposed vice bills generally, and his base historically has been the religious right.
However, Yarborough’s position is not the default in the Duval delegation’s Republican caucus or the Senate race.
Rep. Jason Fischer, the Mandarin Republican who represents House District 16 in the southern part of the county, enthusiastically supports the accord.
“I support the Compact and applaud Gov. DeSantis and our legislative leadership for being bold on leading to solve this issue, which has lingered for years,” Fischer told Florida Politics Tuesday.
The third state Representative seeking the Senate seat, Rep. Cord Byrd of House District 11, has yet to respond to an inquiry about his stance on the Compact.
Current statute allows the Tribe to offer slots, banked card games, raffles and drawings. The Compact would add craps, roulette, fantasy sports contests and sports betting to the list of allowable games. The deal is expected to generate $2.5 billion for the state over the next five years and $6 billion through 2030.
With the Special Session all but in the rear view mirror, Byrd, Fischer, and Yarborough will resume campaign activity, ahead of what promises to be a competitive and expensive primary.
Two are off to fast starts. Fischer entered the Session and the compulsory fundraising pause with approximately $900,000 banked between his campaign account and political committee. Yarborough had raised roughly $400,000.
Byrd, with roughly $80,000 raised, has ground to make up in the race to replace termed-out Sen. Aaron Bean.
— Rep. Jason Fischer (@JasonFischerFL) May 18, 2021