More than a dozen candidates are in the crowded race to win U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho’s vacated seat.
Florida’s soon-to-be vacated 3rd congressional seat has drawn a crowded field of contenders hoping to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville, who made good on a campaign promise not to run for more than four terms.
Thirteen candidates have filed and qualified for the race to represent the state’s third congressional district, which covers Alachua, Gainesville, Palatka and northern Ocala.
The job pays $174,000.
Here is a look at the crop of candidates who want to succeed Yoho:
Kat Cammack, Yoho’s campaign manager and former deputy chief of staff, hopes to continue to work in the district office.
The Gainesville Republican has raised $441,586 and secured endorsements from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), political action committee the Tea Party Express, former Keystone Heights Mayor Tony Brown and the North Central Florida’s Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association.
Cammack’s Pro-Trump attitude is mirrored in her platform. She says she’s a proud Second-Amendment supporter and will work to prevent legislation that would restrict gun rights. The 32-year-old also promises to help build a wall on the U.S. border.
Individual contributions to Cammack’s campaign account for $398,513, federal election filings show. Among the political action committees that have donated the most to her candidacy: Farm Credit Council Political Action Committee, the Tea Party Express and the U.S. Israeli Political Action Committee.
Also running for political office for the first time is 46-year-old Ryan Chamberlin from Marion County.
The Republican businessman supports ample military funding, religious freedom, anti-abortion causes and the Second Amendment.
Chamberlin, who’s raised $121,253 and loaned another $30,000 to his campaign, said his business background is what makes him stand out. He’s also written three books about entrepreneurship.
He has been endorsed by Marion County Tax Collector George Albright, state Rep. Stan McClain and former Marion County Commissioner Mike Amsden.
Former Gainesville City Commissioner Todd Chase said he’d like to take his local government experience to the next level.
The 53-year-old Navy veteran, running as a Republican, said he wants to help repeal ObamaCare, boost border security and support anti-abortion causes.
Federal election campaign filings show Chase has raised $313,670. Of that money, $5,000 comes from a Las Vegas-based political action committee Full House PAC.
Chase has been endorsed by the Gainesville Fraternal Order of Police, State Sens. Aaron Bean, Keith Perry and several former Alachua County and Gainesville government officials.
Democrat Adam Christensen has also filed and qualified for his first time in politics.
The 26-year-old Gainesville small businessman said he grew up as a conservative but also grew up witnessing rising drug costs and unequal housing.
He hopes to fight for a better system if elected, through passing Medicare for All and a Green New Deal.
"A government should guarantee that every individual can pursue a dignified life worth living," he said.
Christensen has most notably been endorsed by former presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson, Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Committee and the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida.
He has raised $5,572 in contributions, and has loaned his campaign $14,440.
After unsuccessfully running unaffiliated for Yoho’s seat in 2012, Philip Benjamin Dodds is trying again.
Dodds, a 46-year-old health care IT lead and strategist, will run as a Democrat this time around.
His platform includes a string of progressive issues such as depending less on fossil fuels, supporting DREAM immigrant students, defending Social Security and expanding Medicare.
Reina Saco, the Gainesville city commission’s newest candidate, has endorsed Dodds, who has raised $8,253 in contributions. Dodds has also been endorsed by Gainesville City Commissioner Harvey Ward and the African American Accountability Alliance.
On top of his contributions, Dodds has also loaned himself $13,000 and pitched in $853 to the campaign.
Small business owner Bill Engelbrecht, 54, of Orange Park has also secured his spot on the ballot.
Engelbrecht, a Republican, said he’s running to ensure Americans can afford and access health care. He has worked in the health care industry since 1988, having worked as a health care consulting firm controller and eventually leading his own Medicare-certified accredited home health care agency in 2000.
He said he’s seen veterans and seniors denied care for too long.
The father of four is also a supporter of the second Amendment, building a wall on the U.S. border and law enforcement.
He’s raised $17,430 so far, and has loaned over $51,000 to his campaign.
Joe Millado, 47, is making his first attempt to run for office, though he’s no stranger to the political arena.
The Fleming Island resident assisted with legislative policy for two members of Congress from Florida, including former U.S. Rep Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, and Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida’s 12th District.
Millado, a Republican, said he’s running on an America First platform, caring specifically about veterans’ affairs and government spending.
"Our campaign is about putting America's communities first addressing critical issues for everyday Americans and their families with practical policy solutions; not politics," he said.
Millado’s second-quarter financial filing report has not yet been turned in.
Former Clay County Commissioner Gavin Rollins has qualified to run in his first congressional race.
The 34-year-old Republican American history teacher, whose campaign has raised $123,922, has strongly supported anti-abortion causes and promises to help defund Planned Parenthood. He argues the money should instead go toward state adoption agencies, and has a personal stake in the issue, with an adopted sister and nephew.
Rollins has also loaned $50,000 to his campaign.
Rollins, from Keystone Heights, is also a captain in the Florida National Guard. As such, he said he will support legislation to provide veterans a voucher to get into the private market and receive timely responses to disability claims.
He has been endorsed by the anti-abortion, family policy organization Florida Family Action.
Railroad contractor Judson Sapp is again taking a run at Yoho’s seat after a defeat in 2018 in the Republican primary.
The Green Cove Springs Republican has raised $245,803 in contributions, and has loaned his campaign the second-highest amount compared with other candidates at $500,000.
He’s been endorsed by former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer, as well as U.S. Reps. John Rutherford and Vern Buchanan.
Sapp, 43, hopes to reduce the federal Department of Education’s reach, and send more money to states to expand school choice options and continue Trump’s America First policy. He publicly denounced the University of Florida’s decision to remove the Gator Bait chant because of racist connotations, and distributed flyers around District 3 to revive the cheer.
Sapp has also received contributions from political action committees such as Friends of Cliff Stearns, I-PAC Jax and the Florida Freedom Committee.
James St. George
James St. George, a Fleming Island Republican, said more members of Congress need to support Trump, so he joined the race.
The husband and North Florida physician is an avid critic of the Affordable Care Act, and wants to build the U.S. border wall.
St. George, 61, and his wife started their own private practice, St. Johns Vein Center. His background in health care, he said, differentiates him from other candidates.
St. George has raised $307,309 in contributions, and has donated another $600,000 to his campaign, the most of any other candidate. Health care political action committees have also overwhelmingly donated to his campaign, including the U.S. Radiology Specialists PAC and the American Medical Association Political Action Committee.
Dave Theus, 56, is also on his first political campaign.
The Republican from Clay County said he will fight to protect Second Amendment rights, veterans’ affairs and boost national security.
If elected, he said he will commit to spending no more than eight years in office (U.S. representatives are elected for two-year terms). He also vows to lessen government influence on America’s job makers, and support legislation to create a national history curriculum taught at every grade level.
"I will go to Washington and not forget who I serve, do the work of all the people in a common sense approach," he said.
Federal campaign finance records show Theus has raised $16,222, solely from individual contributions.
Amy Pope Wells
Small business owner Amy Pope Wells hopes to bring her business sense to the race. The Green Cove Springs Republican runs two small businesses with her husband, and served as chairwoman of the Clay County Chamber of Commerce.
The 49-year-old promises to continue President Donald Trump’s "America First" agenda, as well as to fight to build the U.S. border wall, protect the Second Amendment and support anti-abortion causes.
Wells has raised $98,880 in contributions, and loaned herself $110,000. She has also received $10,500 from political action committees, such as the Value in Electing Women PAC and the American Staffing Association PAC.
Hailing from Gainesville, Tom Wells is making a second attempt to snag the elected seat. The 69-year-old Democrat lost the 2018 primary to Yvonne Hayes Hinson but has qualified for this year’s primary.
Wells says his big-ticket items include pushing for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All and criminal justice reform.
Wells holds a doctorate in physics and nuclear theory from the University of Maryland. Since 1978, he’s worked in various research science and engineering companies, including the head of electromagnetics at ESSCO in Concord, Massachusetts and served as the vice president of engineering at AFC in Ocala.
He’s the president of consulting company World Radomes Inc. in Gainesville.
Wells has $2,164 in contributions, the least of the qualified candidates. On top of that, Wells has donated $10,525 to his campaign.
Wells has been endorsed by Jacksonville’s Democratic Socialists of America, Demand for Universal Healthcare and Jacksonville for Bernie.