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Son Of Former Jacksonville Mayor Runs For Congress

Hans Tanzler

The son of former Jacksonville mayor Hans Tanzler is the latest in a crowded field of Republicans who hope to replace outgoing U.S. Congressman Ander Crenshaw.

Hans Tanzler III is counting on his deep River City roots help set him apart from the field when August’s primary rolls around.

The elder Tanzler presided over the city’s consolidation in 1967. His son said it’s that history that gives him the name recognition necessary to pull ahead of his strongest rivals. But unlike his father, Tanzler said he built his career in the private sector, making him a political outsider.

“Lake Ray and Sheriff (John) Rutherford are fine men and you know; I’ve probably contributed to one of their campaigns," he said. "But on the other hand I want people to run on their record and I want people to see my resume."

Although Tanzler has never held elected office, he was appointed to the St. Johns River Water Management District, serving from 2012 to 2015, and was a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice in Miami during the 1980 cocaine crisis.

If elected, Tanzler said he’ll do his part to rein in what he calls "out of control federal agencies."

“We were going after real criminals and I see a Department of Justice today that seems to be pushed to political means or to be an instrument of some political strategy," he said. "That’s such an abuse of what I know is right I just can't stand it."

But with little more than three months left until the August 30 primary, Jacksonville’s GOP establishment seems to be coalescing around Rutherford. Tanzler acknowledges it’s a steep climb.

“The daunting part is in three months, how do you get that message to the voters that are undecided and give them the opportunity to see that difference?” he said.

Crenshaw announced in April that after 16 years in in the U.S. House of Representatives he would not seek reelection. 

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.