Half-dozen Jacksonville City Council members back HD 12 hopeful Jessica Baker

Baker is running against former Rep. Lake Ray.

First-time candidate Jessica Baker continues to amass endorsements in her campaign for House District 12.

Six members of the Jacksonville City Council were the latest to endorse Baker, an Assistant State Attorney in Florida’s 7th Circuit who is seeking the Republican nomination in 2022.

Council Vice President Terrance Freeman and Aaron Bowman, Kevin Carrico, Rory Diamond, Ron Salem, and Randy White described Baker as the “conservative choice” in the primary.

“Jessica Baker is the conservative choice for our next state Representative. She has served our community with distinction as charter revision commissioner, a prosecutor and conservative leader. She will bring the right experience, energy and integrity to her new role. We are proud to endorse her and look forward to continuing working with her,” the electeds said in a joint statement.

For her part, Baker hailed the six-pack of endorsers as a “powerhouse group,” lauding their stewardship of the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As this pandemic has ravaged our city for more than a year-and-a-half, this powerhouse group of council members have fought to protect the health and safety of our city and our economy, and I am honored to have their support,” said Baker. “As a prosecutor and a military wife, I understand the challenges our city faces, and appreciate the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make each and every day. As your next state Representative, I will always protect the rule of law and make public safety my top priority.”

These Council members join previously announced Baker backers, including Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams, Congressmen John Rutherford and Michael Waltz, State Reps. Wyman Duggan and Jason Fischer, Senate President Wilton Simpson, and former House Speaker John Thrasher.

Baker continues to promote strong endorsements as she attempts to present an alternative to former four-term Rep. Lake Ray, who filed to run for the seat earlier this year.

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, essentially his political mentor. Sen. Aaron Bean and Reps. Chuck BrannanCord Byrd, and Chris Latvala also support Ray, among others.

HD 12 is a Republican-leaning district as currently mapped, 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, this is a safe Republican seat for now, at least.

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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