Republican Chris Licata announced Friday that he’s moving his House campaign over to District 69, the southwest Pinellas County seat Rep. Kathleen Peters is giving up to run for local office.
“The 69th district is where I grew up, where I attended middle and high school, where I spent my weekends on Johns Pass, where I held my first job washing dishes at the Thunderbird Hotel, in-short it is where my roots still run deep,” Licata said. “I am running for the State House because I feel it is a matter of civic duty to protect our beaches, do more for our veterans, and continue to grow our economy.”
Licata initially filed to run in HD 62 at the end of July, held by House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, but he sent a letter to the Florida Division of Elections earlier this month switching his campaign over to HD 69.
In the Aug. 9 letter Licata gave elections officials the same story, writing that while HD 62 is near his “current short-term residence and hopefully long-term place of employment” he wanted to switch to HD 69 because that’s where his “roots still run deep.”
The Navy Veteran was born in Pinellas County, as was his wife, Jennifer. When their first child was born last year, the young family decided to settle down near where they both grew up.
“We are going to make Pinellas County home for our family. I believe in servant leadership, and I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get ready to work for our community as I have for our country over the past decade,” Licata said.
His entry into the race sets up a Republican Primary to replace Peters. Republican Raymond Blacklidge filed for the race back in June and has so far raised about $52,000 for his campaign, including $5,500 in loans. He had about $42,500 of that money on hand July 31.
Licata hasn’t shown any contributions for his campaign.