Former Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards enters CD 7 contest

Former Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards filed his candidacy in the crowded Republican field in Florida’s 7th congressional district.

Edwards, a Winter Park real estate attorney, filed and qualified for the ballot on Wednesday, becoming the eighth Republican to qualify in a county-spanning district Republicans hope to reverse. of Seminole and southern Volusia County.

He was a leading figure in Central Florida politics and the top fiscal conservative on the Orange County Commission before his upset loss when he sought re-election in 2016. His district had represented Winter Park and northeast Orange County.

He enters CD 7 promising fiscal conservatism to stop federal budget deficits, promising to fight inflation and border security — and taking a stand that breaks with many Republicans, promising to find a way to reduce gun violence, while respecting the Second Amendment.

“After the Uvalde shooting, it just gave me the fire in my stomach to do it. I am a grandfather. I have two grandchildren and they are innocent and pure. The idea that they might be in a classroom where an 18-year-old just walked in and bought an assault rifle and attacked them is unconscionable,” Edwards said.

“We have to solve the problem and we can do both,” he said of the balance between gun restrictions and the Second Amendment. “So that really crystallized my desire to try to make a change and run in a Republican primary from a point of view that might not be the popular point of view. But I think that’s the right one. view. And I hope voters will agree.

Rep. Democrat leaving CD 7 Stephanie Murphy decided in December not to seek a fourth term. Then Florida’s congressional redistricting map redrawn CD 7, changing it from mildly Democratic to moderately Republican in its electoral leaning.

Other Republicans who qualified for the ballot this week include the former mayor of DeBary Erika Benfield, Brady Duke, Cory Mills, rusty robertRep. Antoine Sabatini, Al Santos and Scott Sturgil.

Democrats who qualified this week include Tatiana Fernandez and Allek Pastrana.

There are several other candidates who had applied and could still qualify for the ballot.

Edwards strongly criticized the Democratic president Joe Biden, saying he ran as a moderate but “did not govern as a moderate. We need to right the ship and bring it back to the Conservative side.

He cited inflation, particularly with gas prices, and supply chain issues, saying “all Biden wants to do is spend more money and try to shift the blame.”

“Another problem is the southern border. We need to secure the southern border. I think most people are tired of the open frontier view that Biden has,” Edwards said. “Either we will have a border and we will have laws, or we will not.

“Where are all these people going to live? We are talking about affordable housing and rent increases. How do you absorb millions of people a year, with housing, education, social services? Something has to be done. Republicans, and I think Democrats, feel that,” Edwards said.

Edwards is a longtime resident of Winter Park, which is not in the district. He has a rental home in New Smyrna Beach, in the District, and he argued that his 42 years in Central Florida gave him strong connections throughout CD 7, more so than some of the other contestants. These connections include large local business clients who could support his campaign.

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Jack L. Goldstein