As he seeks a second term in the Florida House, Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Milton, has to survive a serious Republican primary challenge in August from Milton businessman Jayer Williamson, the scion of a family with deep roots in Santa Rosa County politics.
First elected to the Florida House in 2010, Broxson currently represents parts of Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties. But Broxson faces new voters in 2012 since the Legislature tackled redistricting earlier in the year; heis now running for a seat that contains all of Santa Rosa County and the northern half of Okaloosa County.
Broxson has compiled a healthy war chest as he runs for a second term. So far this election cycle, he has raised more than $174,500 and used more than $20,800 through in-kind donations. But, as of July 6, Broxson has sent almost $147,300 for the campaign. To bolster his cash in the bank, he has relied on $25,000 in loans.
With Williamson posting impressive fundraising numbers in the first quarter of 2012, Broxson clearly revved up his efforts in the second quarter. During that period, Broxson raised more than $80,000 and used almost $20,100 through in-kind donations. He also spent almost $129,000 during that period.
Williamson, a business owner from Milton, started off the campaign with solid momentum with fundraising. After entering the race toward the end of January, Williamson raised more than $33,000 over the first two months of his campaign. But since then, his fundraising has dropped considerably. In the second quarter of 2012, he raised $3,400 and took out $20,000 in loans.
While his fundraising petered out in the second quarter of 2012, Williamson should have enough in the bank to make things interesting in the final weeks before the Aug. 14 primary. As of July 6, he spent more than $14,250 out of the almost $56,800 he compiled through contributions and loans -- giving him more than $42,000 for the last weeks before the primary.
Williamson has deep political roots in the area. His father Jim Williamson is well-known for his current service on the Santa Rosa County Commission and his past tenure with the Milton City Council. Williamsons grandfather -- W.L. Butler -- served on the Santa Rosa County Commission back in the 1970s.
Whoever emerges from the Republican primary will be a very heavy favorite to win election to the Florida House in November. The Democrats and the various minor parties are not running candidates in the race. Margaret Peggi Smith from Milton is running as a write-in candidate.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.