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Fernandina Beach Sen. Aaron Bean launches congressional bid

Aaron Bean
Rebecca Blackwell
/
AP
Republican state Sen. Aaron Bean, who represents Nassau County and part of Duval County.

After a Florida Supreme Court decision likely locked in the shape of congressional districts for this year’s elections, state Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, launched a campaign Friday for a U.S. House seat in the Jacksonville area.

Bean will run in the redrawn Congressional District 4, which is made up of Nassau and Clay counties and part of Duval County. It overlaps some areas, such as Nassau County, that Bean has long represented in the Legislature.

In a statement announcing his candidacy, Bean touted conservative positions.

“Our nation is at a crossroads, being ripped apart at the seams by a liberal agenda that stifles economic growth and seeks to silence family values,” Bean said in the statement. “We’re enduring rising inflation, gas prices that are crippling hard-working Americans, unprotected borders, a loss of respect for law and order and constant federal overreach by a government attempting to tell us that they know what is best. I will not rest on the sidelines.”

The announcement came a day after the Florida Supreme Court declined to jump into a legal battle about a congressional redistricting plan that Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed through the Legislature during an April special session.

The Supreme Court’s decision likely means that the DeSantis-backed plan will be in place for this year’s elections. The legal battle has centered on Congressional District 5, which was drawn in the past to help elect a Black candidate and has stretched from Jacksonville to west of Tallahassee.

The DeSantis-backed plan completely reconfigured District 5, putting it in the Jacksonville area. The plan also resulted in changes to District 4, with both of the Northeast Florida districts now expected to favor Republican candidates.

Voting-rights groups and other plaintiffs in a constitutional challenge to the DeSantis-backed plan have sought to keep the current sprawling configuration of District 5, which in recent years has elected U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat.

Bean will face a battle in the Aug. 23 primary for the Republican nomination in District 4. Other GOP candidates include state Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, and Navy veteran Erick Aguilar.

U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, a Republican who represents the current District 4, plans to run in the reconfigured District 5. A candidate-qualifying period for this year’s races will be held June 13 to June 17.

Since late 2020, Bean has been a top lieutenant to state Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, while also serving as the Senate’s chief health-care budget writer. He is required to leave the Senate this year because of term limits.

Bean was elected to the Senate in 2012 after serving in the House from 2000 to 2008. He previously was the mayor of Fernandina Beach.

Jim Saunders is the Executive Editor of The News Service Of Florida.