By A. G. Gancarski
June 3, 2022
A leader in the Florida Senate is looking to serve in Washington.
As expected for some weeks, Fernandina Beach Republican Sen. Aaron Bean is entering the race in Florida’s new 4th Congressional District.
In a release to media Friday, Bean announced that he was in, an announcement that came after a methodical pre-candidacy period.
“Our nation is at a crossroads, being ripped apart at the seams by a liberal agenda that stifles economic growth and seeks to silence family values,” said Bean. “We’re enduring rising inflation, gas prices that are crippling hardworking Americans, unprotected borders, a loss of respect for law and order, and constant federal overreach by a government attempting to tell us that they know what is best. I will not rest on the sidelines. I will stand up for the free state of Florida and carry the torch of conservative Northeast Florida and the Ron DeSantis Doctrine, a doctrine of freedom for all Americans, to Washington.”
The statement of candidacy was filed Thursday, a seeming precursor to a formal announcement. Bean told a crowd at the Clay County Farm Bureau Fish Fry Thursday that he was in the race, offering further confirmation that he was in.
Bean, the current President Pro Tempore of the Senate, will see heavy establishment backing in what already is a spirited Primary battle between political outsider Erick Aguilar and state Rep. Jason Fischer.
“Washington is in dire need of strong conservative voices and voices that will not be silenced when challenged,” Bean said. “When we ran our local business, my wife and I were proud to be able to get up each day and work hard, employ our neighbors, and be a part of the workforce and business engine that contributed to the local economy. My background and perspective are unique, and I look forward to sharing with my community my vision for the nation, state and region.”
Compared to his major opponents, though, Bean’s messaging strikes a more inclusive tone. His campaign website assures that “when we do the right thing, our best days are still ahead,” and the candidate says he wants to take his “public servant’s heart to Washington.”
The Senator confirmed as early as April that he was looking at a run in the new district in Northeast Florida.
The new CD 4 will replace the current Florida’s 5th Congressional District, which sprawls to Gadsden County from Jacksonville’s Urban Core.
And unlike the current CD 5, a minority access district represented by Democrat Al Lawson, it is drawn for a Republican outcome, in what the Governor has called a “race-neutral” approach to map making.
Nassau, Clay and Duval County areas north and west of the St. Johns River are included in the new district. Donald Trump carried the district by 7 points in 2020, and Gov. DeSantis by 5 points in 2018.
And this will not be a majority-Jacksonville district.
Growing Clay County will make up 44% of GOP Primary voters. Duval will account for 35%, and Nassau 21%. Bean, who lives in Nassau, is expected to draw on early support from Clay County (including former Sen. Rob Bradley and future House Speaker Sam Garrison) and from Duval County (Property Appraiser Jerry Holland). Sen. Travis Hutson is also on board.
Bean, a graduate of Jacksonville University and former Mayor of Fernandina Beach, has been an elected office mainstay for decades, and hasn’t faced serious competition in years. He won all his General Elections for Senate with more than 60% of the vote.
Though this new district sees a Republican advantage, Democrats will compete.
Former state Sen. Tony Hill and previous congressional candidate LaShonda Holloway are both actively campaigning. Hill is a current aide to incumbent Al Lawson, while Holloway ran against Lawson multiple times in recent years.