The Tallahassee gossip mill is nearly always circulating rumors about former state Rep. Loranne Ausley running for an opportune office. Leon superintendent, supervisor of elections, city commissioner, perhaps a crack at Congress… you name it, someone has probably floated it at Harry’s.
But a greater volume of talk from more reliable sources is indicating that the former District 9 representative and candidate for chief financial officer will indeed launch a bid for her once-and-possibly-future House seat based in Tallahassee and its northern suburbs.
Ausley, an attorney and founder of The Florida Project, is a fixture in the Capital City’s business and legal communities and has deep ties to the lobbying corps. She won District 9 in her 2010 race for CFO against Jeff Atwater, though she lost to Atwater 57-39 statewide.
So far no other candidate has filed to replace incumbent state Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, who will leave the seat due to term limits following 2016 elections.
But several are rumored to have expressed interest, including Rick Minor, former HD-9 candidate and policy adviser to Charlie Crist‘s 2014 gubernatorial campaign, and retired Tallahassee Fire Chief Cindy Dick.
The Democratic-leaning seat always generates interest from both sides of the aisle, and at least one Republican challenger is likely to emerge. In 2008 – the last time the seat was open – Rehwinkel Vasilinda defeated Republican Peter Boulware by just over 400 votes in a race where an NPA candidate took 3.3 percent of ballots cast.
Ausley also sits on the national board of the progressive New Leadership Council, which seeks to help build a bench of young Democratic politicos across the country. Local Democrats are hoping Ausley — a prolific fundraiser whose Project New Florida committee hauled in more than $825,000 from 2009 until 2013 — can do the same in Tallahassee.