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Third-party candidate to again challenge Travis Cummings in NE Florida House seat

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

State Rep. Travis Cummings looks to have a more or less clear shot at re-election to his third term in the state House, though Libertarian Ken Willey announced on Friday that he will take another quixotic shot at overtaking the sophomore Republican.

Willey should not be confused with fellow minor-party crusader Adrian Wyllie, who mounted a 2014 Libertarian run for governor, gaining some  traction in the press but only 3.8 percent of the final vote.

Willey matched up against Cummings last November in a heads-up race with no Democrat on the ballot. He garnered 19 percent of the final tally while Cummings cruised to re-election with 81 percent.

This will be Willey’s third run for public office in as many election cycles. He stood against Tea Party Republican U.S. Rep Ted Yoho in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, which takes in Gainesville and the outlying conservative rural counties that surround it. The former U.S. Navy hospital corpsman failed to qualify.

Cummings, on the other hand, is looking to catapult into the second half of his prospective eight years in the House with greater clout and seniority.

The Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee vice chair has raised $82,050 with no viable opponent so far and has an extensive résumé of service at the local level, including as councilman and mayor of his hometown of Orange Park, a four-year stint on the Clay County Commission and what must have been an interesting gig as chair of the Clay County Charter Review Commission.

Cummings faced no opposition in either the GOP primary or general elections in 2012, arriving as a candidate fresh off his incumbency on the local county commission.

Willey has not reported any campaign finance activity yet, but raised less than $2,500 to finance his long-shot bid back in 2014.

New contribution reports are due from campaigns by May 31.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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