Debates announced for four competitive Republican congressional Primaries
Ronna McDaniel, the GOP chairwoman, speaks during the Republican National Committee winter meeting Friday. Image via AP.

ronna mcdaniel gop
Republican Primary debates will be held for Florida's 4th, 7th, 13th and 15th Congressional Districts.

Four congressional districts Republicans expect to win in November will see GOP candidates debate at the 2022 Sunshine Summit in Hollywood next month, the Republican Party of Florida announced Monday.

The party is organizing debates for the Republican Primaries in Florida’s 4th, 7th, 13th and 15th Congressional Districts at the midyear Republican convention at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel on July 23.

The debates also will provide voters an indication of who’s likely to be competitive and who’s not. The debate will be open to only candidates who pull at least 5% in polls the party intends to run and release by July 13.

At a news conference in Callahan Monday morning, Gov. Ron DeSantis lauded the debates as a chance to add some meat to the convention, and to provide the candidates with opportunities to identify themselves in the four competitive congressional Primary Elections.

“It just gives an opportunity for the credible candidates,” DeSantis said. “This will be a great option for the candidates to go and talk about their visions and to contrast with their competitors.”

On the latest redistricting map, all four districts have open seats. All four at least lean Republican in voter registration. All four have multiple Republican candidates vying in the Aug. 23 Republican Primary Election.

In CD 4 in North Florida, dominated by Jacksonville’s northern and western suburban areas, Erick Aguilar of Jacksonville, Fernandina Beach Sen. Aaron Bean, and Jon Chuba of Jacksonville have qualified for the Republican Primary Election ballot.

The district is open because redistricting carved it from remnants of two others, and it doesn’t have an incumbent. Republicans appear to have an overwhelming advantage in the CD 4 voter base, considering results of the past two General Elections.

In CD 7 in Central Florida, covering Seminole County and parts of southern Volusia County, a much larger number of candidates have qualified. They include former DeBary Mayor Erika BenfieldBrady Duke, former Orange County Commissioner Ted EdwardsCory Mills, Rusty Roberts, Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Al Santos and Scott Sturgill.

The district is open because incumbent Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy is retiring from Congress. The voter makeup appears closer, based on the past couple of General Elections, with Republicans holding a moderate advantage.

In CD 13, in Tampa Bay, covering western Pinellas County, Kevin Hayslett, Moneer Kheireddine, Anna Paulina Luna, Amanda Makki, and Christine Quinn have qualified for the ballot.

The district is open because incumbent Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist is running for Governor. The past couple of General Elections suggest the reconfigured district has a moderate Republican lean.

In CD 15, in the Interstate 4 corridor through Polk and eastern Hillsborough counties, there is a mix of high-profile and other candidates. Among them are Demetries Grimes, former Secretary of State Laurel Lee, Kevin “Mac” McGovern, Sen. Kelli Stargel, and Rep. Jackie Toledo.

CD 15 was carved out of several old districts and has no incumbent. It leans slightly Republican, based on results of the past couple of General Elections.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • tom palmer

    June 20, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Let the race-baiting and gay-bashing begin. Those seem to be the signature GOP issues these days.

    • Tom

      June 21, 2022 at 6:34 am

      Did you endorse the Lake O veto yet Palmer? What kind of environmentalist are you? Florida conservation foundation endorsed it Palmer. How bout some credibility Palmer?

      Furthermore, the Gov has authorized and legislature appropriated record funding for clean up, actuaries and waterways. Lake O had been a top priority and accomplishment.

      You need to acknowledge and thank the Governor Palmer. You pretend to care bout the environment but offer nothing.

      • tom palmer

        June 21, 2022 at 5:27 pm

        You mean the so-called Clean Waterways Act that lets the regulated industries regulate themselves? DeSantis environmental record has been mixed. He also signed the Soil Conservation District billl that strips critics of development of their ability to lobby for better management. You need to look at the entire record not cherry pick to build your idolatrous shrine.

        • Tom

          June 24, 2022 at 7:27 am

          Palmer, You are a zealot, extremist hater.
          Best Gov on environment in 40 yrs. For Repub. grade A, overall a B.
          it’s called balance. America’s Gov, America’s Environmentalist.
          Do for America, what you have done for Florida. Ron Top Gun Maverick!

    • FJB

      June 21, 2022 at 9:50 am

      I’m sure the GOP main issue will be how the Dem’s are destroying the economy and country!

      • Tom

        June 24, 2022 at 7:35 am

        Moron FJB, it’s not the GOP, you idiot.
        It’s the peeps, Biden Harris destroyed the economy. Are you mental?

        The peeps feel it, know it and understand it. They don’t gonna be told.

        Dem, Dum Manchurians gotta beat down coming. Real bad, Gov and Marco win bigly! Chameleon or Fraud, don’t matter. Dum Dum Demings, LMAO.

        New Repub. house majority, 25 to 50 new house seats. Super Repub. majority, watch Rep Eskimo wilt.

        It’s called an old fashioned Ass kicking !

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