While she faces a Republican primary foe in House District 11 in August, Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, remains the favorite in her bid for a third term in the Florida House of Representatives. On Monday she unveiled the support of former Gov. Jeb Bush as she seeks to continue representing parts of the First Coast.
Adkins, who currently serves all of Baker, Nassau and Union counties and parts of Bradford, Clay and Duval counties, has focused on education issues during her time in the House, rising to serve as vice chairwoman of the Education Committee and the Pre-K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee. Bush noted Adkins work on education in his endorsement on Monday.
"I have known Janet for years, first as a school board member and now a state representative who has made improving education for Florida's students a priority," said Bush in a statement. "Janet understands that we need an education system that is student centered, offers parents real choices and ensures student skills match the expectations of employers and colleges. I know that Janet has the integrity and the bold ideas to create a stronger Florida for everyone."
"I am pleased and honored to have the support of a true national leader in education reform, Adkins said. It is through school choice and greater focus on students that we will realize the promise of a quality education. I am committed to introducing legislation to help align our state budget and the skills of students with the needs of employers.
"Closing the skills gap and working to build a work force that can compete and innovate are critical to Florida's ability to compete for new jobs and employment opportunities, Adkins added. While Florida needs to expand the numbers of students graduating with advanced degrees in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, we must also have skilled machinists and technology specialists to ensure manufacturing has a skilled work force ready to compete."
With the seat containing all of Nassau County and parts of Duval County after redistricting, Adkins has been busy introducing herself to more voters in Jacksonville, running television commercials and placing billboards on busy streets.
Adkins stepped up her fundraising and spending in the second quarter of 2012. She raised more than $78,500 in that period and spent almost $97,800. Adkins also relied on $10,000 through in-kind donations. So far this election cycle, Adkins has raised more than $178,000 and spent more than $104,000.
While she may have the support of Bush and much of the Republican leadership in Tallahassee, Adkins does not face an open shot at the partys nomination. Attorney Cord Byrd who has long family roots on the First Coast is also seeking the Republican nomination. Since entering the race in the middle of March, Byrd has raised more than $12,000 in contributions and loaned his campaign $5,350. During that period, Byrd has spent more than $11,800.
Whoever emerges with the Republican nomination will face Democratic candidate Dave Smith and write-in candidate Daniel Walsh in November. Smith has done little in the way of fundraising, bringing in $125 and loaning his campaign $600. Smith has spent almost $625 from his war chest.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.