State Rep. Ralph Massullo, who has served a predominant Citrus County seat in the House for six years, announced plans to run for state Senate District 10, setting up a potential showdown with fellow Rep. Blaise Ingoglia.
Massullo, a Lecanto Republican, had filed to run for re-election to House District 34. He has said in interviews, however, that he had sights on a Senate campaign and was awaiting the redistricting process to see what the new districts look like.
“Over the past five years, I’ve had the honor of representing my district in the Florida House,” he wrote. “During that time, I’ve worked tirelessly to live up to the trust my community placed in me by standing up for the conservative values we hold dear. Now, there is a new frontier on which to fight to defend those values — that is why I’m announcing my candidacy for the Florida Senate.”
Proposed Senate redistricting maps show a new SD 10 encompassing all of Citrus and Hernando counties, plus Sumter and a portion of Pasco.
Should those hold up, it places Massullo and Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican, on a collision course for the 2022 election. They both have a hometown advantage in their counties — HD 34 includes all of Citrus and the northwest portion of Hernando; Ingoglia’s HD 35 includes the remainder of Hernando County.
Between their political action committees and campaign accounts, Ingoglia has a huge advantage — by his own count, nearly $1.5 million over Massullo, including $500,000 in self-funding. Massullo is expected to start his Senate candidacy by lending his campaign $1.5 million.
“Florida’s success is no accident. It is the result of conservative principles in action and bold, decisive leadership,” Massullo said. “But the massive federal overreach by the (Joe) Biden administration and the dysfunction of Washington D.C. threatens the progress we’ve made. That is why we need leaders in the Florida Senate who will stand up for our conservative beliefs and pushback against unconstitutional edicts.”
Massullo said he had been mulling a run for Senate or re-election in recent weeks. Unlike Ingoglia, who cannot run again due to term limits, Massullo can serve another two years in the House.
Senate President Wilton Simpson, who currently represents SD 10, is running for Agriculture Commissioner.
Former Citrus County Commissioner Rebecca Bays said last week she would run for the new House district should Massullo run for Senate.