The crowded Republican primary field to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., continues to grow as a former mayor of Gainesville jumped in the race.

Former Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy, who currently leads the Alachua County GOP, entered the race at the end of last week.

“All day, every day, we hear the rhetoric of politicians who do nothing but pull our country and our communities apart. Seldom do we see any real debate on issues, and even less do we implement solutions. It is critical that we elect leaders who want to achieve solutions for the American people and not just win the next election. Our families and businesses in North Central Florida need results, not rhetoric,” said Braddy.

Braddy attempted to stress his conservative record in office.

“As mayor of Gainesville, I was successful in reducing property taxes and saved millions by eliminating liberal projects such as streetcar and rapid transit projects. I’m proud of the creative, conservative approach we had in Gainesville and I can bring that experience and success to Washington D.C. on behalf of the people of Florida’s Third Congressional District,” Braddy said. “It is clear we need conservative leaders who will stand with President Trump to adopt solutions to our most pressing problems like reforming our broken immigration system, protecting our right to bear arms, fighting for our agricultural communities and working to lower the debt that nobody in Washington seems to care about.

“North Central Florida is home, and I simply can’t sit idly by when the core values and principles that have made this country great are being threatened,” he concluded. “That is why I am announcing my candidacy for Congress in Florida’s Third Congressional District.”

Braddy defeated Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe in 2013 but he was plagued by ethics issues, including having hotel rooms and a trip to a strip club paid for by a police union leader with what turned out to be stolen money. While Braddy was cleared by the Florida Commission on Ethics after reimbursing more than $500 of those expenses, he was politically damaged. In 2016, Lauren Poe easily defeated Braddy when the mayor ran for reelection. Braddy pulled in less than 40 percent in his reelection bid.

With Yoho sticking to his promise to serve only four terms in Congress, a large field of Republicans is lining up to replace him.

Current active candidates include longtime Yoho aide Kat Cammack, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, former congressional aide Joe Millado, Clay County Commissioner Gavin Rollins, businessman Judson Sapp, physician James St. George and businesswoman Amy Pope Wells in the Republican primary. Former Gainesville City Commissioner Todd Chase is exploring entering the race.

Four Democrats–Adam Christensen, Phil Dodds, Richard Rowe and Tom Wells–are running in this solidly red district which stretches from Clay County to parts of Gainesville and Ocala.


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