Rep. John Wood, R-Haines City, will be facing a primary challenge in 2012 from a conservative challenger for the Republican primary nomination -- John Lindsey, who took 31 percent of the vote against Dennis Ross in a congressional primary in 2010.
Speaking to Sunshine State News Wednesday, Lindsey, who filed with the state Monday, said that redistricting, which will occur in 2012, had nothing to do with his consideration and that he was taking aim at the incumbent.
John Wood tends to represent the old special interests, insisted Lindsey. He has not passed significant legislation.
With Wood representing parts of Polk County, Lindsey believes that while the Republican establishment will be against him, the voters will back him.
The citizens of Polk County are behind me, said Lindsey, who also pledges to defend Second Amendment rights, lower taxes and push for alternative sources of energy to reduce American dependence on foreign oil. Lindsey said he intends to make his opposition to illegal immigration one of the chief issues of his campaign. Lindsey also took a shot at Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, hammering the senator for opposing expansion of the E-Verify software to crack down on illegal immigrants.
During the 2010 primary, Lindsey took more than 9,500 votes in Polk County as opposed to Ross, who took more than 23,000. While Lindsey raised more than $13,500 in contributions for his campaign, he was overwhelmed by the amount Ross brought in. By June 30, Ross had raised $489,000 from individuals, $256,000 from PACs, more than $20,000 from the party and $25,000 of his own funds -- and had more than $440,000 cash on hand.
Wood was elected for the first time to the Florida House in 2008. He had no Democratic or Republican opponents back in 2010, managing to hold off Joshua Davis who was running with no party affiliation.
At the end of March -- with the laws tying his hands about fund-raising when the Legislature was in session -- Wood brought in $30,700 in contributions.
Noting that Lindsey had spoken to him during session about challenging him in the primary, Wood spoke to Sunshine State News about his primary rival on Wednesday.
I got to know John in the last election cycle, said Wood, who called Lindsey a fine citizen.
The people selected the right guy, said Wood, referring to the primary between Lindsey and Ross. I dont think he [Lindsey] was the most qualified candidate.
While he had never faced a primary contest in either 2008 or 2010, Wood said that Lindseys bid would not impact his stances on the issues or his plans for a third campaign.
Im a good member of the Republican caucus, said Wood. John Lindsey and I share many of the same ambitions and goals for state policy.
We will let the Republican voters decide who is the most qualified candidate, added Wood.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.