The decision comes as a result of the new redistricting amendments to the Florida Constitution and their impact on the recently finalized district maps. Guidelines adopted by a supermajority of Florida voters changed the legal standards resulting in a record number of incumbents paired in single districts. By avoiding a contentious primary election, the district has the potential of benefitting from a continuum of experienced, conservative leadership.
“I am stepping aside for the next two years because it is in the best interest of our community,” said Rep. Drake. “I am confident that Marti Coley can effectively represent our district; she currently represents part of Bay and Walton Counties and a majority of Jackson County. She has overcome incredible adversity and accomplished much for Northwest Florida. I strongly support her reelection to the House of Representatives. And in the meantime, I will look forward to meeting with constituents, working with community leaders and continuing to learn how I may be helpful. It is my hope that voters will allow me to continue to be their champion for small government and positive economic growth for our wonderful area. Whether as a private citizen or as an elected official, I am committed to fighting for the interests of our region.”
“Rep. Drake has selflessly chosen to put the interests of the district above his personal ambition,” said Speaker Designate Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel). “He is a true public servant, and I wholeheartedly support his future commitment.”
“I’ve known and worked with Rep. Drake for a longtime, and I’m honored that he has placed his trust in me,” said Rep. Marti Coley. “I am grateful for this opportunity to continue working to get our economy back on track. I look forward to campaigning hard to earn the voter’s approval for another term in the Florida House.”