Paul Renner backs Ralph Massullo for another term in HD 23
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/09/22-Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, gives his farewell speech, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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'Dr. Ralph Massullo has been a strong, conservative voice for keeping Florida free and prosperous'

Rep. Ralph Massullo, his House District 23 re-election race all but stripped of serious challengers, received an endorsement Tuesday from incoming Speaker Paul Renner.

“Dr. Ralph Massullo has been a strong, conservative voice for keeping Florida free and prosperous,” Renner said. “He is a leader in the Florida House, and I am counting on him to fight alongside Gov. DeSantis. I am excited to endorse Rep. Massullo’s re-election, and I look forward to welcoming him back to Tallahassee to continue our mission of making Florida the best state for children, families, and workers to succeed.”

Massullo, a three-term Lecanto Republican, has had a whirlwind election season.

He filed to run for re-election but announced plans in December to run in the new Senate District 11, loaning the campaign $1.5 million in anticipation of a battle with fellow Rep. Blaise Ingoglia.

Soon both Massullo and Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican, were formally in the SD 11 race. Massullo’s decision made HD 23 an open seat, attracting former Citrus County Commissioner Rebecca Bays and Inverness agribusinessman J.J. Grow, who both jumped in only after Massullo assured them he was not going for re-election.

In March, both races were upended when Gov. Ron DeSantis stepped in to endorse Ingoglia. Two days later, Massullo dropped from the SD 11 race and back into HD 23 — with DeSantis’ endorsement.

Within a week, Grow and another Republican challenger dropped out of the HD 23 race. Eventually, Bays did as well and instead is running for Citrus County Commission District 4.

Unrelated to Massullo’s decision, the lone Democrat in the HD 23 race, Nancy Pierson, also withdrew to take care of her mother full time.

“Representing my community in Tallahassee has allowed me to advocate for policies that create opportunities for economic growth, improve education for our children, and improve health care outcomes for patients across the state,” Massullo said. “I am looking forward to working with Speaker-designate Renner to expand freedom and opportunity for our community and for everyone across the Sunshine State.”

Massullo is way out front in campaign cash over his two remaining Republican rivals, retired Florida Highway Patrol trooper Tod Cloud of Homosassa and Beverly Hills resident Paul Reinhardt.

Ingoglia, meanwhile, is unopposed in SD 11.

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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