Ford O’Connell files for open HD 77 seat in Lee County
Republican Ford O'Connell is jumping into the CD 19 race.

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The pundit previously ran for a congressional seat in the region.

Conservative pundit Ford O’Connell announced he will run for the open House District 77 seat.

“My family and I have lived in Southwest Florida since 2012,” he said in a statement launching his bid. “For my entire life I have been a strong conservative fighter who thinks it’s time that our politicians finally do what is needed.”

In 2020, O’Connell briefly ran for an open congressional seat in Southwest Florida but dropped out shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A surrogate for former President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2020, the lawyer has appeared on conservative media outlets including Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Radio and Newsmax.

In announcing his House bid, he laid out a red meat agenda covering everything from school curriculum regulation to election integrity. He also proclaimed himself a staunch supporter of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Back parental rights, end illegal immigration, rein in Big Tech censorship, call for a forensic audit of the election, achieve U.S. energy independence, end our dependence on China, stop mandates, destroy the woke agenda and actually back our Governor,” he said.

O’Connell becomes the second Republican to jump into the race for a redrawn HD 77. Tiffany Esposito, president and CEO of SWFL Inc., announced her candidacy in March. Democrat Eric Engelhart has also filed for the seat.

Under the new House map (H 8013) passed by the Legislature, HD 77 is contained entirely within Lee County and covers its southwest portion primarily south of Palm Beach Boulevard and west of U.S. 41, sans the city of Fort Myers. It covers the communities of Lehigh Acres and San Carlos Park.

O’Connell now lists an address in Lehigh Acres on his materials with the Division of Elections.

The district should be a safe Republican seat. About 56.01% of voters there backed Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election, while 43.09% went for Democrat Joe Biden.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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