Lori Hershey launches campaign in HD 16

Hershey is the second filed Republican for the Jacksonville seat.

The race to succeed Rep. Jason Fischer in Jacksonville’s House District 16 is officially on, with a second Republican entering the Primary Wednesday.

Lori Hershey, who represents much of the district on the Duval County School Board, is in the race officially, having filed paperwork with the state to open a campaign account, reliable sources tell Florida Politics.

“I want to take my record of common sense conservative leadership to Tallahassee to help Governor Ron DeSantis keep moving Florida forward,” Hershey said in a media release Wednesday.

Hershey told us in a call she was a supporter of DeSantis from the 2018 campaign on, and is a “big fan” of the Governor and what he has done to keep schools open and to protect school choice.

She has been elected twice to the School Board, most recently in 2020 when she defeated two challengers. And in that role she has been instrumental in initiatives, including the 1/2 cent sales tax campaign that will fund public school infrastructure improvements in the years to come.

“I have always listened to my constituents and will continue to do so when elected,” Hershey said.  “As someone who has lived in this district for over twenty years, I have deep ties to the community and know where to go to for the advice needed to do a good job.”

Hershey cast a more recent controversial vote Tuesday, one of two on the board opposed to renaming six schools currently named after Confederates. However, HD 16 is conservative, and those close to the campaign don’t worry too much about Primary blowback for that vote.

Hershey said she gave it a lot of thought, and ultimately had issue with the flawed voting process and funding mechanism, and noted that previous renamings, such as that of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, saw people “still angry” years later.

Hershey joins Adam Brandon, a lawyer with the Rogers Towers firm, in the race.

Expect Hershey’s roots in the district and the city to be part of her messaging.

“Lori has a two decade record of service to the community.  People know that and have rewarded her in the past for that service,” said one consultant close to the campaign.

Indeed, localism will be the play. Brandon recently moved to the district for family reasons, after having briefly launched a run in House District 12.

Though his tenure in the district is short, his bench of supporters appears to be deep, and a host of connected Jacksonville Republicans will demonstrate support Thursday.

Jacksonville’s River Club is hosting a fundraising reception in support of Brandon’s campaign, as well as that of his political committee, “Genuine Conservatives.” Brandon already has $95,000 on hand.

Hershey isn’t worried. She has been outraised before, she noted, and has already “hit the ground running,” making calls for the nascent race.

She expects her roots in the district and a “20 year reputation for getting things done,” coupled with relationships, to provide an advantage also.

Worth noting: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who lives in the district and whose endorsement elevated Fischer in 2016, appears already to have picked his candidate, and will be on hand at Brandon’s reception.

The 2016 primary between Fischer and Dick Kravitz was closely contested, full of opposition research and old-school politicking in the grand tradition of GOP primaries in Florida. Expect that 2022’s HD 16 primary will be similar.

Fischer, meanwhile, is running for state Senate, where he hopes to succeed term-limited Aaron Bean.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Frankie M.

    June 2, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    Hershey is two faced. She’s afraid of offending people except when it comes to getting a sales tax passed? Politics is no place for her…stick to the school board Lori where everything is cookies & bake sales.

  • Mandarin Conservative

    June 3, 2021 at 8:11 am

    “Cookies and bake sales”! Nothing like a little of misogyny with your political commentary.

Comments are closed.


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