Democrat challenges future House Speaker Sam Garrison

The district is 54% Republican.

Clay County is poised to have a House Speaker soon, but a Democrat from Middleburg has qualified to run against him

Rep. Sam Garrison, who will be Speaker in 2026 if Republicans retain their majority, will face a challenge in House District 11 from Democrat Charles Peter Browne.

Browne, whose Google Voice number linked to his campaign account promotes his affiliation with the Boys and Girls Club at Wilkerson Jr. High, did not respond to Florida Politics’ requests for comment.

But what’s clear is the political newcomer’s work is cut out for him, running against a legislative leader in a staunchly Republican district.

As of the most recent quarterly fundraising reporting, encompassing the period through the end of May, Garrison had roughly $81,000 in his campaign account.

One of his political committees, which is called Honest Leadership, raised an additional $308,500 through May, with leading donors including the Florida Credit Union Political Committee, the Florida Medical Association PAC, and Simpson Nurseries of Monticello. That committee has roughly $595,000 on hand. 

The Clay Conservatives political committee brought in $57,500 during the two-month reporting period, with the UnitedHealth Group leading all contributors with a $25,000 donation. That committee has more than $356,000 on hand.

Brown closed out May with $375 in his campaign account, and that won’t offer much resistance to the future Speaker’s machine in a heavily Republican district.

The district is 54% Republican, and in the latest book closing report from the Division of Elections, no-party voters and third party registrants combined to outnumber Democrats.

The last time Garrison won, he got nearly 74% of the vote against an underfunded Democrat.

The question this year: can he eclipse that rousing mandate in November’s General Election, assuming his opponent qualifies for the ballot next month?

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

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