Sen. Aaron Bean, House members draw challengers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Just days before the start of qualifying for this year’s elections, Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and three state House members have drawn new challengers.

Callahan Republican Carlos Slay opened a campaign account Thursday to run against Bean in Senate District 4, which is made up of Nassau County and part of Duval County, according to the state Division of Elections website.

Slay joined Bean, Democrat Billee Bussard and Libertarian Joanna Tavares in the race.

Bean had raised $204,350 for his campaign as of May 31, including $24,050 last month, a new finance report shows.

In the House, meanwhile, Beverly Hills Democrat Paul John Reinhardt opened a campaign account to try to unseat Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, in House District 34, which is made up of Citrus County and part of Hernando County, according to the Division of Elections website. Reinhardt joined Massullo and Democrat James Henry in the race. Massullo had raised $42,850 for his campaign as of May 31.

In Central Florida, Orlando Republican Scotland Calhoun became the first candidate to open a campaign account to challenge Rep. Amy Mercado, D-Orlando, in Orange County’s House District 48. Mercado had raised $40,743 for her re-election bid as of May 31, a finance report shows.

In Southwest Florida, Cape Coral Democrat Narcissus Estrella Magturo opened an account to try to unseat House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, in Lee County’s House District 76. Magturo joined Rodrigues and Democrats Neilson Croll Ayers and David Benjamin Bogner in running for the seat. Rodrigues had raised $164,510 for his campaign account as of May 31.

Formal qualifying for legislative races starts at noon Monday and will continue until noon June 22.