Aaron Bean, Chris Latvala among latest Lake Ray endorsers in HD 12
Lake Ray looks to return to Tallahassee.

Ray is currently unopposed, but that could change.

Currently unopposed in the House District 12 race, former Rep. Lake Ray rolled out another batch of endorsements Thursday.

Sen. Aaron Bean and State Reps. Chuck Brannan, Cord Byrd, and Chris Latvala joined Rep. Clay Yarborough in backing Ray.

Previous officeholders, such as former Senator and Education Secretary Jim Horne, former Sen. Doc Renuart, former Reps. Jay Fant and Jim Fuller and past Jacksonville City Council President Bill Bishop, also are on board.

“This powerhouse group of conservative leaders have helped to make Florida a great place to live, work and raise our families”, Ray said. “I am honored to have their support.”

Ray, an Arlington mainstay who represented House District 12 from 2008 to 2016, is seeking a return to Tallahassee in 2022.

The endorsements released Thursday are the second such tranche from the Ray campaign.

Current Jacksonville City Council President Sam Newby previously endorsed Ray, as did former presidents Elaine Brown, Lad DanielsBill Gulliford, Jerry HollandKevin HydeStephen JoostGinger Soud, and Scott Wilson.

Ray, the president of the First Coast Manufacturers Association, previously represented the area containing HD 12 for eight years on the Jacksonville City Council, between 1999 and 2007. In more recent years, he ran for Congress in 2016 and Duval County Tax Collector in 2018, losing both of those races in their primaries.

The timing of yet another endorsement rollout is interesting, as Ray is unopposed currently in the race. There are rumblings that opposition may emerge soon, however.

Ray, an experienced candidate with a strong network developed over decades, has fundraised steadily since launching his return bid for the House in March. He has more than $130,000 in his campaign account, an amount boosted by $50,000 in personal loans.

In addition to the hard money, Ray also has a state-level political committee called A Stronger Florida for Us. That committee has roughly $20,000 in it, with Ray not having focused on committee fundraising yet.

HD 12 is a Republican-leaning district under its current configuration, with more than 48,000 Republicans outnumbering the more than 38,000 Democrats. There are also more than 28,000 third- and no-party-affiliated voters.

Though the seat has been a Republican hold for well over a decade, Democrats have competed in recent General Elections. However, the numbers suggest a strong Republican advantage unless the maps change drastically ahead of 2022.

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


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