Image: – – On Point Broadcasting
The race to take over House District 4 got a little more crowded Monday with a fifth Republican jumping into the field to take over forÂ Matt Gaetz, who is skipping his fourth term to run for the Florida Senate.
Laurie J. BartlettÂ will run against Okaloosa County CommissionerÂ Wayne Harris, Destin MayorÂ Mel Ponder, businessmanÂ Jonathan TallmanÂ andArmand Izzo, who is a program manager for a defense contractor.Â
Bartlett is the vice chair of the Okaloosa County Republican Executive Committee and president of On Point Broadcasting, which provides online video broadcasting services. She also hosts a conservative talk show, â€œThe Right Conversation,â€ with OCREC chair Gaye Ellis on a Fort Walton Beach AM radio station.
The Shalimar Republican will have a little catching up to do on the campaign finance side. Currently, Harris is the frontrunner, with about $30,000 cash on-hand heading into the month. Ponder and Tallman posted good initial numbers after filing in August, bringing in $11,000 and $5,000, respectively. Izzo, who filed in July, has only raised $300.
The Okaloosa County district is one of the most heavily Republican in the state, with the GOP having a better than 3-to-1 voter registration advantage. Gaetz didn't have a single Election Day challenger across his three Florida House campaigns, and this group isn't likely to either.