Jacksonville City Council member Garrett Dennis has joined the race for the House District 13 seat being vacated by Rep. Tracie Davis.
Dennis, who is in his second term on the Council representing the sprawling District 9, filed Monday. He joins Iris Hinton in the Democratic Primary.
Hinton, a 71-year-old newcomer to elected politics, has been in the race since August but has yet to raise any money.
Davis has filed to succeed term-limited Sen. Audrey Gibson in Senate District 6.
Dennis won his first term in District 9, which is north and west of the St. Johns River, in 2015 and his reelection in 2019 with 60% of the vote. No Republicans ran either time in what is a strong majority Democratic district.
He has been active in party politics and has already endorsed U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist for Governor. It can be expected that Dennis will get the balance of Democratic endorsements in the region and perhaps beyond, including from current incumbents.
Dennis’ campaign comes as Davis, a friend and political ally of long standing, has embarked on what will be a fractious and divisive Primary campaign facing off against Reggie Gaffney, a Council colleague of Dennis’.
Gaffney, a GOP-adjacent Democrat in the mode of former Rep. Kim Daniels, has raised a third of a million dollars for that race already. Expect tensions in the Senate race to possibly bleed down ballot to Dennis’ race, perhaps with support for Hinton or a third candidate yet to emerge.
Though lines could change in redistricting, HD 13 is packed with Democrats.
Of the 107,433 registered voters in the district during the November 2020 election, 61,014 were registered Democrat. So the Primary effectively decides the next representative from the district.