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Politics

HD 2: Clay Ford a Heavy Favorite Over Republican Primary Challenger

August 2, 2012 - 6:00pm

Rep. Clay Ford, R-Pensacola, faces a challenger in the Republican HD 2 primary on Aug. 14 as he seeks another term in the Florida House of Representatives representing parts of the Panhandle.

Ford currently represents parts of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and, while the Legislature tackled redistricting earlier in the year, his new district covers parts of the same two counties.

First elected to the Florida House in 2007, Ford has risen to chair the Federal Affairs Subcommittee. He also served as part of the Republican leadership with a stint as deputy whip earlier in his tenure in Tallahassee.

An attorney who served more than three decades in the Army, Army Reserves and National Guard, Ford is a longtime political leader who served 17 years on the Gulf Breeze City Council, including seven years when he served as mayor pro tempore. Ford also has political ties in Arkansas. He served a term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and was at the state constitutional convention in the late 1970s.

As Ford looks to serve a third full term in the Florida House, he has compiled a solid war chest. As of July 20, Ford raised almost $82,400 and relied on more than $5,400 through in-kind donations. He has kept his powder dry, spending less than $41,250, leaving more than $41,000 in the bank with barely a week until the primary on Aug. 14. The Republican incumbent has won the backing of some of the leadership of the state business community including the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Ford does not have an open shot at the Republican nomination. Standing in his way is Jeremy Bosso who served in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and has been with the UWF Wetlands Research Laboratory. Bosso is a supporter of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and has been active with the pro-life cause on the Panhandle.

Bosso has not been able to keep up with Ford in the money chase. Since entering the race at the end of May, Bosso has raised $800 in contributions and relied on $1,800 in loans. By July 20, he had spent almost $1,800 from his campaign account.

Whoever emerges with the Republican nomination will be an extremely heavy favorite to head off to Tallahassee in November. No Democrats or minor party candidates are in the race. Christine Bruha from Gulf Breeze is running in the general election as a write-in candidate.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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