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At Forum, House District 12 Candidates Find Little To Disagree On

Ryan Benk
At the lectern, outgoing Rep. Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville) moderates candidates Stan Jordan, Terrance Freeman, Mark MacLean and Don Redman for his replacement.

Four of the five candidates vying for a Jacksonville state house seat plead their cases at the Southside Business Men’s Club Wednesday.

The debate lacked, well, debate on most issues.

Former teacher Terrance Freeman, former state Rep. Stan Jordan, businessman Mark MacLean and former Jacksonville City Councilman Don Redman disagreed on little, though Redman broke from the group, saying he’s in favor of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

But on everything from gun control to taxes, the candidates mostly nodded in agreement: no new firearm regulations and no new taxes.

Outgoing representative and District Four congressional candidate Lake Ray said that’s why voters will mostly choose his replacement based on experience.

“That’s what’s going to be the differentiator," Ray said. "I think you’ve seen that play out either on the presidential level, you’ve seen it at the City Council level. The issues are all going to be largely the same, and these are Republican candidates that we’ve had,” he said.

Ray wouldn’t say who he’s supporting for his old job, though.

Frontrunner in recent polling and former Jacksonville City Council President Clay Yarborough was unable to attend the forum because of a bout with the flu.

A write-in candidate has shut out Democratic voters in the District 12 race. 

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.