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St. Johns County commissioner takes aim at Crenshaw seat

Bill McClure joins John Rutherford, Lake Ray, Hans Tanzler on GOP ballot

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St. Johns County Commissioner Bill McClure formally announced Monday that he will run to succeed retiring Republican Congressman Ander Crenshaw in a Northeast Florida district.

The announcement by McClure, a businessman and Republican, suggested he will focus on his career in the private sector and paint himself as an outsider.

"I may be new to politics, but I've shown what you can accomplish when you apply conservative principles to government. ... I'm a businessman who will make the right decisions, even if they are politically incorrect. Our nation's future is too important for anything else," he said.

Former Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford, who has rallied much of the area's establishment behind him, outgoing state Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, and attorney Hans Tanzler III, son of a former Jacksonville mayor, have also announced bids for the seat.

The candidate who wins the GOP primary is likely to win the general election in the strongly Republican district, which includes Nassau County, much of Duval County and roughly the northern two-thirds of St. Johns County.