CD 4: Thunder on the Right in wake of Crenshaw retirement

256px-AnderCrenshaw_Official_Head_Shot_-_2009The 4th congressional district in Northeast Florida has been an anomaly for the last twenty-four years.  In 1992 the district was radically changed by the Florida Legislature to create a base for a rabidly conservative member of Congress. 
However, the voters of the district have elected moderate Republicans Tillie K. Fowler and Ander Crenshaw.  This week congressman Crenshaw announced his retirement, setting off a last minute frenzy of ambitious Republicans.  Crenshaw’s retirement likely will mark the end of moderate Republicans holding the district 4 seat. 
The first announced candidate is former sheriff of Jacksonville/Duval County, John Rutherford.  Rutherford has never been shy about his political ambition.  He has discussed running for the Florida legislature and was actively considering moving to a run for the congressional seat South of district 4.  
As the former sheriff, he consistently blamed others for Jacksonville’s rising crime rate, but has accepted credit for years when the crime rate decreased.  In his announcement Rutherford stated, “I would point to a proven record of principled leadership, honor and integrity.”
Rutherford has also been candid about his views.  He discussed his pro-life position saying, “The whole culture of death we have created, it’s a major problem.  Whether you kill a baby in the womb or a woman on First and Main, it’s the same thing.” 
Former Republican Party of Florida chairman and current Jacksonville mayor, Lenny Curry, has said he will support Rutherford.  Curry, no longer the official chairman of the Florida Republican Party, stays active in statewide electoral politics though his political action committee.  It provides funding for favored Republican candidates and political attack advertising. 
Rutherford also has the support of local political kingpin and former Disney executive, Peter Rummell.  Rummel’s support has proved decisive in the last two mayoral elections.  

Candidates considering a run have informed the media about the deluge of encouragement they are receiving.  One potential candidate, property appraiser Jerry Holland, has invited people to encourage him on Facebook.  First-term state representative, Jay Fant, is exploring the opportunity as well.  Both Holland and Fant have enough family wealth to self-fund much of their potential campaigns.  Holland has said his wife is willing to contribute $500,000 to his campaign.  
A bevy of legislators are considering the race including former city councilman, Richard Clark, first-term state senator, Aaron Bean, and state representative, Lake Ray.  Local tax collector, Michael Corrigan, and supervisor of elections, Mike Hogan, have also expressed an interest. 

Local columnist, A. G. Gancarski has written, that the race “will be decided in the GOP primary.”  For a district that has voted for Republican Presidential candidates by an average margin of 26 percent and is ranked R+17 by the Cook Partisan Voting Index, that may be a safe bet.  


  1. Mark Lynn · ·

    Hey J’ville Dems, what is Steve Pajcic doing these days??


    1. Mark: That’s actually a pretty good question. He’s only 69 and although he has had some health scares, including cancer, he is still pretty spry. From what I understand he has what is, or is close to, an eidetic, memory. From what I can tell he is grooming his sons/daughters and nephews/nieces to take his place in the political field. If/when they choose to get in, they will be formidable; intelligent, likable and successful. I know one of them and encourage him every time I see him. But all of the legislative seats (federal, state and national) are set up so only conservative Republicans and black Democrats can win. The Pajcics are very good people, but they are not Don Quixote.


  2. An intrepid Florida Squeeze reader suggested some updates were in order. Former City Councilman Richard Clark and Property Appraiser Jerry Holland are not running. Retiring state representative Lake Ray has formed an exploratory committee and may be a formidable candidate. Also, according to inside sources, Jay Fant is edging towards getting to the race as is Tax Collector, Michael Corrigan.


  3. Retiring State Representative and former City Councilman, Lake Ray joined the Republican primary in the race to replace Congressman Ander Crenshaw in the 4th House District of Florida. In this R+17 race, the winner of the Republican primary will have a district advantage in the general election. He is considered the underdog as many of the big money Republicans have coalesced around former Sheriff John Rutherford.


  4. Former City Council President and State Representative, Eric Smith, is the first Democrat to join the race. Smith insists, “No party should own a congressional district and nobody should be sent to Washington for their party affiliation,” To read more check out this story in the Times-Union.


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