Former Citrus Commissioner Rebecca Bays considering House run

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'I’ll cross that bridge when it gets there. I’ve given more thought to the House seat.'

A former Citrus County Commissioner is eying the outcome of legislative redistricting and a potential run for the Florida House.

Rebecca Bays, who served on the County Commission from 2010 to 2014, said in an interview Monday that she’ll likely run if state Rep. Ralph Massullo does not.

“I love policy. I’ve always been accused of being a big-picture thinker,” Bays, who owns a landscape tree nursery near Inverness, said. “We need strong leadership in this state.”

No decisions will be made until the Legislature finalizes new district maps, she said.

The House Redistricting Committee staff released a pair of proposed maps that show Citrus intact in a newly created District 23, but also joining communities to the north.

Citrus, which currently shares House District 34 with northwest Hernando County, is with all of Levy County in one map and the Dunnellon area of Marion County in the other.

Massullo, a Lecanto Republican, is completing his third term in the House. He is considering a 2022 run for state Senate, though proposed maps show him in the same Senate district as fellow Republican Sen. Blaise Ingoglia of Spring Hill. Ingoglia has a more than $1 million cash advantage over Massullo, and he has received U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s endorsement.

Bays defeated District 4 County Commission incumbent John Thrumston in her first run for office in 2010. Four years later Bays did not seek re-election, and current Chair Scott Carnahan was elected.

Carnahan has not said whether he’ll run again in 2022, and Bays declined to say Monday whether she would also consider another run for County Commission.

“I’ll cross that bridge when it gets there,” she said. “I’ve given more thought to the House seat.”

Bays praised the work of Massullo and Senate President Wilton Simpson, whose Senate District 10 includes Citrus. Simpson is running in 2022 for Agriculture Commissioner.

She made it clear that there will be no Bays campaign if Massullo goes for re-election.

“Ralph has done an amazing job,” she said. “He’ll have big shoes to fill. There’s no way I would run against him.”

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.


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