U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Jacksonville, faces two challengers in the Republican Party primary as he seeks another two-year term in Congress.
Rutherford won re-election in 2020 after turning back a well-funded campaign by Donna Deegan, a Democrat. This time no Democrats have filed so the GOP primary will determine who represents the district.
What area does the 5th District cover?
The district spans large portions of Duval and St. Johns counties. The Duval County part is east and south of the St. Johns River. The district continues south to cover two-thirds of St. Johns County all the way past St. Augustine.
Leigha "Luna" Lopez, 37, freelances and volunteers in psychological research and advocacy. She said Congress needs to ensure election integrity, stop the "destruction of the Bill of Rights by statist government tyranny" and also repair the economy by restoring a "constitutionally based, limited government which protects our freedom." She said she will expose Republicans who are RINOs, or "Republicans in name only."
Mara Macie, 42, said Congress needs term limits because "we have people who think they know what's best for us" but spend decades in Washington and "don't relate to their constituents anymore." She said she believes in "medical freedom and being able to refuse unwanted medical procedures" such as the COVID-19 vaccine. She said the federal government must stop running up more debt that will burden future generations.
Rutherford, 65, is a former Jacksonville sheriff elected to Congress in 2016. He said Congress must dial back federal spending because President Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda is fueling inflation that's driving up the price of everyday items. He said the answer to bringing down high gas prices is more production of oil and natural gas so the country is "energy independent." He favors completing the southern border wall to impede illegal immigration and supports programs for law enforcement.
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What happens next?
The winner of the Republican Primary will have a clear path to victory in November because no Democrats filed for the seat.
Early voting starts Monday and the primary election is Aug. 23. The general election is Nov. 8. The winner will take office in January for a two-year term.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: U.S. Rep. John Rutherford in GOP primary against two challengers