Review board members volunteering for Historic City News have noted that among incumbents who are in a tough spot after the redistricting dust settled, 48 year-old Republican State House member Doc Renuart of Ponte Vedra Beach is most notable in St Augustine and St Johns County.
Although Renuart lives in St Johns County, his current district includes the Duval County beach towns of Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach. The new House District 17 seat now starts at the Duval-St Johns County line and stretches west to the St Johns River and south to St Augustine.
“The focus is on those neighborhoods that have been added to my district,” Renuart said in an interview with Florida Current. “I’ve been knocking on doors since April and it seems like it’s been paying off.”
St Augustine is the home of Renuart’s biggest GOP primary challenger — Mike Davis; the third-generation owner of A.D. Davis Construction Co.
Davis, 45, is supported by term-limited Representative Bill Proctor, R-St Augustine, and his campaign is run by Proctor’s legislative aide, Allison Johnson.
Davis said he’s confident of his support in St. Augustine, but acknowledged he’ll have to work hard in Ponte Vedra Beach if he plans to unseat an incumbent in a primary race.
“I believe if you’re going to represent this district, you have to represent all of the district,” Davis has told reporters.
In the money race, Renuart has a clear advantage. He was hamstrung by not being able to raise money during the 60-day legislative session, but he raised $90,900 in the second quarter.
That represents nearly all of what Davis has been able to raise — $91,000.
A third Republican candidate, Kim Kendall, 45, has raised nearly $60,000 since February 2011, but spent almost all of it.
All told, Renuart has $93,200 cash on hand going into the final month before the August 14 primary, more than double Davis’ remaining campaign fund of $46,200.
Davis did pull down a key endorsement from Associated Industries of Florida.
Renuart brushed off the endorsement, noting he had a 100 percent voting record for AIF agenda items this year and has the support of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a political move,” Renuart said. “They didn’t even interview me.”
The presence of write-in candidate Angela Casey and no party affiliation candidate Rebecca Sharp means the primary is closed to non-Republican voters.
District 17 covers 83 percent of St. Johns County, where 53 percent of registered voters are Republicans.