Realtor launches write-in challenge to Aaron Bean

Todd Schaefer image via campaign
Former Navy man Todd Schaefer looks to beat the odds in Northeast Florida.

Those who oppose the two-party system have another option in Florida’s 4th Congressional District.

But they’ll have to go to the trouble of writing the candidate’s name on the ballot in November.

Fernandina Beach real estate agent Todd Schaefer has qualified. He will take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean, a Republican who got roughly 60% of the vote last time. Bean’s previous opponent, Democrat LaShonda “L.J.” Holloway, has also qualified.

Schaefer, a 45-year-old “happily divorced” Indiana native, came to Northeast Florida while in the Navy, where he rose to the rank of senior chief. Professionally, he especially likes to work with people transferring from one base to another, as he can help them avoid some of the pitfalls he encountered as a young sailor navigating the treacherous waters of the housing market.

Politically, he was a Democrat and switched to independent in the last year, a move that made him ineligible to run as an independent, but facilitated a write-in campaign that has certain advantages, such as costing “zero dollars.”

Despite the Republican plurality of the district that includes part of Duval County and Nassau and Clay Counties, Schaefer believes he has a path to make waves, and pledges to keep running beyond this cycle in a bid to battle his number one issue: corruption in the political process.

“Now that I know the rules to get on the ballot as an independent, I’m going to do it in ’26 and I’m going to do it in ’28. I’m going to do it every time that I can because it needs to be done. I can talk to any person on the right or left and convince them that they aren’t rich enough that either party gives a shit about them,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer’s independence extends to the presidential race, where he’s considering an option beyond the geriatric duopoly presented by Republicans and Democrats.

“If there was a gun to my head and I had to pick someone, it would probably be Robert Kennedy Jr. His position on Israel and Palestine is horrendous, but at least he is talking about corruption and talking about things that need to be fixed here. His foreign policy is wobbly, but at least he’s talking about issues here that I think he could tackle as a human rights and environmental lawyer with a better mindset than (Donald) Trump or (Joe) Biden.”

The candidate may be a long shot against Bean, a former state lawmaker who ended March with more than $538,000 cash on hand, according to records from the Federal Election Commission. But he understands that going in, and will work to make his case through November.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • MH/Duuuval

    April 25, 2024 at 5:55 pm

    I applaud the chief for running a campaign without raising money, but he should work at the grassroots for a bit and get to know the lay of the land and make some friends who vote every time.

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