In the latest sign of establishment coalescence behind Jacksonville Beach’s Chet Stokes in House District 16, eight more elected Republicans fell in behind the Councilman’s bid for the open House seat Thursday.
Duval County Clerk of Courts Jody Phillips; Jacksonville City Council President Terrance Freeman; Jacksonville City Council members Kevin Carrico, Nick Howland and Randy White; Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser; and Neptune Beach City Council members Lauren Key and Josh Messinger joined a list of Stokes enthusiasts.
“Chet Stokes is the true conservative in the race for House District 16. He has the right principles, energy and experience to represent our community well in Tallahassee. I am proud to give him my full support,” asserted Clerk Phillips.
City Council President Freeman said, “Northeast Florida needs bold conservative leaders representing us in the Legislature, not more of the same.”
Freeman ran for state House in 2016, losing a close and bitterly contested campaign to Rep. Clay Yarborough. Yarborough’s political mentor is Stokes opponent Lake Ray, who endorsed Yarborough over Freeman, a move that potentially lends context to Freeman’s remarks.
“Chet is the husband, father, businessman and conservative leader we need as State Representative. I am proud to endorse him and look forward to working with him,” Howland added.
“I am incredibly grateful for the growing support of elected leaders from across our region. I will continue to work for every vote across our community and look forward to bringing my bold conservative vision to the Florida House,” Stokes asserted.
Stokes is one of three Republicans running in the August Primary, and he is the best positioned for the road ahead. Stokes had more than $250,000 on hand at the end of June between his campaign account and his Strengthening Florida’s Future political committee. He’s already made a television buy and he’s also hammering “liberal” Ray with attack mail pieces; one of those is below the text on this post.
Ray, a political veteran who represented the western part of the district for years, had just over $170,000 on hand as of the most recent numbers between his campaign account and the A Stronger Florida for Us political committee. A third candidate, Kiyan Michael, had nearly $20,000 on hand.
No Democrats are running in this heavily Republican district, but only Republicans can vote in this Primary, as two write-in candidates qualified.