Pinellas County Republican Party Chairman Nick DiCeglie says he’s entering the 2018 race for House District 66.
DiCeglie, who announced his candidacy in a Tuesday press release, joins Berny Jacques in the GOP primary for the western Pinellas County seat, which covers Clearwater, Indian Shores and Largo.
The current HD 66 officeholder – state Rep. Larry Ahern, a Seminole Republican – is term-limited next year.
DiCeglie, a Long Island native, has been active with the Pinellas GOP since 2009 and has been its chair since 2014.
Since 2001, he’s been the co-owner of Solar Sanitation, a solid waste collection company serving Pinellas residents since 1980. In 2011 it was named “Medium-Sized Business of the Year” by the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce.
“Growing up working in a family business taught me the value of a dollar and hard work at an early age,” DiCeglie said. “Since then, I’ve spent my entire life in the private sector, growing a small business and serving our community in any way I can.”
DiCeglie has lived in the Sunshine State for more than 20 years and currently resides in Indian Rocks Beach with his wife Erica and their two children.
“As a small business owner, I know firsthand how excessive government regulation and red tape hinders economic freedom and jobs for hardworking Florida families,” he added.
“In order to be effective and get things done, we need a leader in Tallahassee with real world experience that will fight for the conservative principles our country was founded on: Individual liberty and a Republic that is smaller and smarter than it is today. I look forward to the opportunity to be that leader for our community.”
The businessman’s resume includes two terms as chair of the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce, a gubernatorial appointment to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, and six years on the Indian Rocks Beach Planning and Zoning Board. He’s currently on the Pinellas County Economic Development Council.
Jacques, who filed back in March, has raised about $55,000 for his campaign and has $45,000 of that money on hand in his campaign account, records show.
Also vying for the seat is Reform Party candidate Paul Bachmann, who entered the race Aug. 2 and has yet to file his first campaign finance report.
The district is reliably Republican, with about 10,000 more registered GOP voters than Democrats. Ahern has comfortably won each of his elections in the district.