Heather McArthur files for open HD 49 seat
Heather McArthur. Image via McArthur Mediation Services.

Heather McArthur
Incumbent Melony Bell last week filed to run for Polk County Supervisor of Elections.

The first candidate has now jumped into the race for an open Polk County state House seat.

Mediator Heather McArthur, a Fort Meade Republican, put in paperwork to run to succeed state Rep. Melony Bell in House District 49.

Bell, a Republican, last week filed to challenge Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards. That leaves open a seat she has held since winning election in 2018. She’s notably challenging Edwards, a former Democratic state lawmaker, at a time when some Republican officials want to make county constitutional office races partisan.

McArthur for the moment remains the only candidate filed in HD 49. She’s the owner of McArthur Mediation Services, which handles cases throughout Florida.

Her official biography shows she worked as a mediator for the 10th Judicial Circuit Family and Dependency Court Mediation programs. She has worked in the field in Florida and in Idaho, where she was first certified by Boise State University.

“She is also trained in Restorative Justice, Community Based Mediation and in other relationship-based mediations,” her bio reads. “Heather has also completed training in Non-binding Arbitration for Florida. Additionally, she has been a trained Collaborative Professional since 2017 and is a Neutral Facilitator.”

McArthur also co-founded the Collaborative Professionals of Central Florida, where she still serves as President.

The married mother of five also previously founded a nonprofit focused on helping children in El Salvador and other Latin American countries with medical and other assistance.

The district, which covers much of western Polk County, should be a safe Republican seat. In 2022, nearly 70% of voters there supported Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election and almost 69% voted for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to serve another term. In 2020, nearly 62% of voters in the district voted for Republican Donald Trump over Democrat Joe Biden in the Presidential Election.

Bell won re-election unopposed in 2022, and in 2020 defeated Democrat James Davis with more than 67% of the vote.

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].


  • Dont Say FLA

    August 1, 2023 at 8:19 am

    Similarly to how GOP Presidential candidates announce their list of potential SCOTUS picks, state and local GOP candidates should release their lists of books to ban and disclose which groups of humans they plan to “other” and shun and tell everyone to be scared of.

  • Robert Baum

    August 7, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    Heather McArthur is an excellent candidate to replace Melony Bell. I have known her for many years and even though I am a Democrat I believe she will be a strong voice for good government in Tallahassee.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704