Mike Hill looks to retake HD 1 from Michelle Salzman in GOP showdown
Sequel: Mike Hill and Michelle Salzman look to faceoff. Again.

Salzman narrowly defeated Hill during the 2020 Primary.

Former Rep. Mike Hill filed Tuesday for a second chance against Rep. Michelle Salzman, two years after she unseated him in the House District 1 Republican Primary.

Hill served two and a half terms in the House, from 2014 to 2016 and from 2018 to 2020. But after Salzman edged out Hill in 2020 with 52% of the vote in a Pensacola showdown, the controversial Hill will take a second stab against the establishment-backed incumbent during the Primary Election slated for Aug. 23.

In 2019, Hill made national headlines after he was recorded laughing off a suggestion that people start stoning gays. That recording and the Pensacola Republican’s subsequent nonapology led politicians on both sides of the aisle to condemn him.

House leadership even tossed him from the prestigious House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee.

Hill has also spurred controversy amid the coronavirus pandemic, refusing to help a constituent who was struggling with the collapsed unemployment system at a time when lawmakers in both parties were turning their district offices into ersatz unemployment offices by providing paper applications and rushing them to Tallahassee with an assist from FedEx.

Hill went on the offensive during the 2020 race, smearing Salzman with mailers claiming she supports defunding police and other positions that would be controversial in any GOP Primary, let alone one in the deep-red Escambia County district. Salzman filed official complaints describing the complaints as misleading.

Hill also claimed in 2018 that he was bringing then-President Donald Trump’s star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame to Pensacola.

Salzman’s campaign had a strong close in 2020, earning endorsements from the Florida Medical Association and posting a five-figure report for the last week of July and another for the first couple weeks of August. By Election Day, she had outraised him $98,000 to $88,000 and outspent him by $15,000.

While in office, Hill sponsored legislation like a heartbeat abortion ban, a bill protecting Confederate monuments, a firearms bill removing Florida’s red flag law and more. None of those measures passed the Republican-led Legislature. Neither did any of the bills he sponsored in the 2018 to 2020 term.

In two years, Salzman has passed five bills, including a bill that will give Pensacola firefighters the same pension plan and will extend death benefits to surviving spouses who remarry.

Salzman’s 2020 victory was narrow, but she now has an advantage as the incumbent. However, lawmakers redrew HD 1’s district lines as part of the decennial redistricting process, slightly altering how the new district might perform.

HD 1 covers the northern part of Escambia County, ending just outside the Pensacola city limits, and is a seat that favors Republicans.


Drew Wilson of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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