Wilton Simpson, John Thrasher join wave of Jessica Baker backers in HD 12

'She is a pro-business, pro-life, common sense conservative.'

A groundswell of big-name support continues to manifest for a first-time candidate for a Jacksonville House seat.

Republican Jessica Baker, an Assistant State Attorney in Florida’s 7th Circuit, scored two major endorsements Wednesday, as she begins a Primary campaign in House District 12.

Both Senate President Wilton Simpson and former House Speaker John Thrasher officially endorsed Baker, the latest in a recent wave of endorsements.

“As a prosecutor and the mother of two young children, Jessica Baker knows first hand what it takes to keep Florida’s families and communities safe,” Simpson said. “She is a pro-business, pro-life, common sense conservative, who will fight for our shared values in Tallahassee. I am proud to endorse Jessica because I know she will fight for the health and safety of Florida’s families and our economy.”

“Northeast Floridians deserve a voice in Tallahassee that will fight for our shared commonsense values,” added Thrasher. “Jessica Baker is a constitutional conservative who will defend the rule of law, protect Florida’s families and fight for the American Dream for all Floridians. I’m proud to stand with Jessica because I know she’s tough enough to take a stand for us in Tallahassee.”

Baker lauded the endorsements.

“Florida’s economy is stronger, our families are safer and our businesses more prosperous because of the commitments President Simpson and Speaker Thrasher have made to the people of our state, and I am honored to have their support,” She said. “As a prosecutor and a military wife, I understand the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make each and everyday. As your next state Representative, I will always protect the rule of law and make public safety my top priority.”

Baker continues to draw strong endorsements as she attempts to present an alternative to former four-term Rep. Lake Ray and so-called “career politicians.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams, Congressmen John Rutherford and Michael Waltz, as well as State Reps. Wyman Duggan and Jason Fischer have also endorsed Baker. All of them, except Williams, have been clients of Tim Baker, the candidate’s husband who is an active political consultant in the region.

Ray is a veteran politician who represented HD 12 from 2008 to 2016. He launched his campaign in March, and has roughly $150,000 on hand between his campaign account and political committee, A Stronger Florida for Us.

The current Representative from HD 12, political ally Clay Yarborough, backs Ray, who was essentially his political mentor. Sen. Aaron Bean and Reps. Chuck BrannanCord Byrd, and Chris Latvala also back Ray, who has rolled out well over a dozen endorsements already. All of them came before Baker got in the race.

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 who belong to neither party.

There are months to go before the election, with the Primary scheduled for Aug. 23. Assuming a Democrat or NPA candidate files to oppose the GOP Primary winner, the General Election will be Nov. 8.

While redistricting is underway and could change the map.

Yarborough won reelection twice, each time getting roughly 60% of the vote against lightly-funded Democratic opposition. Ray likewise faced no serious competition during his campaigns.

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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