Next week Republican voters will go to the polls to choose between four candidates in the primary special election for Florida House District 7. Voters are tasked with choosing between candidates that are all running as conservatives.
The candidates include Mike Watkins, Lynda Bell, Jason Shoaf and Virginia Fuller.
The media buzz and campaign donations have been dominated by Mike Watkins – the CEO of the Big Bend Community Based Care – and Jason Shoaf, a vice-president at St. Joe Gas Company.
In a recent forum at the Capital City Tiger Bay Club, which was overshadowed by the subject of hurricane recovery, Mike Watkins won the group’s straw poll.
Much of the focus of the campaign has been on the battle between Watkins and Shoaf over who is the most qualified candidate to carry the conservative message forward.
With much less media exposure, Lynda Bell – a former South Florida mayor who entered the race in early February – is running on a strong pro-life message with unique credentials.
In announcing her candidacy, she highlighted her pro-life commitment.
Bell said, “I am passionate about protecting our constitutional rights, particularly the right to life since all other rights flow from it. We have seen the tragic erosion of the right to life in states like New York and Virginia in recent weeks, and I can’t sit on the sidelines.”
She added, “Florida must continue to foster a culture where life is honored at every stage, from conception to natural death, and I will fight to protect our most vulnerable citizens in the Florida House.”
Bell has served as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner from 2010 to 2014 and on the Homestead City Council from 2003 to 2009. She was Vice Chair of the County Commission from 2012 to 2014 and Mayor of Homestead from 2007 to 2009.
Bell is the current city manager of Sneads and the president of the Florida Right to Life.
According to their website, Florida Right to Life is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grass-roots public service organization dedicated to protecting and fostering the most basic value of our society – life itself – through education and legislation.
The group believes that life begins at conception and ends at natural death, and at all in-between points should be defended and nurtured.
Along with her pro-life credentials, Bell has not been shy in brandishing her conservative positions as they relate to the second amendment and President Trump.
“I’m endorsed by Florida Right to Life, and the NRA has given me the highest grade of any candidate in this race. I’ve personally briefed President Trump on constitutional issues, and the voters can rest assured that I stand with them in the arena as the proven conservative.”
Virginia Fuller, who is a registered nurse, is another choice for voters in the race. Fuller failed to unseat U.S. Rep. Al Lawson in a campaign for a US congressional seat last year.
The special election was scheduled after Representative Halsey Beshears joined the DeSantis administration as the Secretary of Department Business and Professional Regulation.
The district includes Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla Counties and part of Leon County.
The Republican primary winner will face Democrat Ryan Terrell in the general election.
I’ll vote for any right to lifer that has taken in some of these unwanted kids. Until they show me that kind of commitment to the issue, I’m voting for pro-choice candidates. No one wants to care for all these unwanted babies. No one wants to force vasectomies. Only want to force women to bear all the burden of parenting. No enforcement at child support. No affordable housing or childcare so they can try to work. No resources…just loud mouths crying about the life of the unborn fetus. I’d switch in a heartbeat, no pun intended, if there was mandatory sterilization of dead beats and mandatory birth control shots or implants for the gals who can’t get it together. It’s like in one breath ya’ll hate welfare recipients, then in the next breath you’re advocating for creating even more welfare recipients. Choose wisely.
Jason being a VP for St Joe Gas Co. will leave him less than 1/2 time for the House job which is commonly a 1/2 time position anyway. So if you elect Jason you get aprox. 1/2 of the representative you voted for. Plus St. Joe interests do not equal the citizens interests. They work their Jr. VP’s way too hard at St. Joe for Jason to get my vote.
Jr. VP in this case is NOT a feather in Jason’s cap.
Lynda Bell is a person who will give it her all. She’s honest,loves life,and she never gives up in what she believes.
Vote Lynda Bell. FYI, I have noticed that Watkins wastes Money, notice that he puts out 10 to 20 Signs out in a small area when ONE will do. I have also noticed that he has 6 or 7 Signs on Song Bird at Crawfordville Hwy and Lynda has 3. Lynda’s Signs are GONE but his are still there…….HMMMM.
Lynda Bell is the true conservative here. Has governmental experience also. My vote is for her.
I sure wish Mike Watkins would do a better job of running Big Bend Community Based Care! Someone ought to look into the way they manage the child welfare system in this circuit.
If I could vote, my vote would go to her or Fuller. Not so sure about the other two in the race.