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Travis Hutson makes bid to replace John Thrasher in Senate

In what could be a crowded field to replace John Thrasher, Rep. Travis Hutson announced he had transferred $300,000 from his House account to help him win the Jan. 27 special election of Senate District 6, which covers St. Augustine.

Although campaign records show he’s only raised $180,000, Hutson, R-Elkton, raised $120,000 since November, so it won’t appear in reports filed at the Division of Elections until December, said a spokeswoman, Kristen Bridges, of Bascom Communications.

That appears to give him quite a financial edge over Rep. Ronald (“Doc”) Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach.

On Nov. 9, Renuart announced on Facebook that he was running for the seat.

“On Tuesday, I was humbled and honored to receive over 50,000 votes, the most votes of any Florida House candidate in the state. After much prayer and consideration, on Friday, I submitted my resignation to allow me to run for the State Senate in a special election. It is my desire to continue our fight for conservative values, smaller more efficient government and lower taxes and I believe that this can be accomplished by serving in the State Senate. I appreciate the continued support and ask you to like my new facebook page.”

Renuart had already filed to run for the seat in 2018. Campaign records show he’s raised $2,750 and loaned himself $50,000 for that race. Renuart has a PAC, Leadership for a Healthy Florida, that’s raised $15,000, including contributing $1,000 in late October to his senate campaign.

Renuart had nominal opposition in his bid for reelection to the House. Still, it forced him to spend his money. Of the $171,000 that Renuart had raised, he spent $152,000 through the end of October.

Hutson, by contrast, was unopposed. Here’s Hutson’s statement:

Travis Hutson Transfers $300,000 from his House Re-election Campaign to the Special Election for Senate District 6

St. Augustine, Fla. – Republican Candidate Travis Hutson today announced the he has officiallyredesignated his House Re-election Campaign account over to the Special Election for Florida Senate District 6. The $300,000 transfer gives Hutson a head start and allows him to hit the ground running in the Special Election for Senate District 6, which will be held on January 27, 2015.

“We are excited to hit the ground running in my Special Election campaign for Senate District 6,” said Hutson. “I look forward to delivering the message to Northeast Florida that I am the true Conservative in this race who is committed to reducing government waste and spending, improving our education system, and growing the economy and job base in Northeast Florida. I am passionate about our district, and it is important to me to help us continue to thrive, as well as enhance the future of Northeast Florida.”

Prior to running for the Special Election for Senate District 6, Hutson served in the Florida House of Representatives. Hutson was elected to Florida House District 24, which includes Flagler County and parts of St. Johns and Volusia Counties, in 2012 and was subsequently re-elected.

While serving in the Florida House, Hutson championed crucial legislation for House District 24 and the state, focusing on the economy and public safety. In education, Hutson helped craft enhancements to Florida’s Career and Professional Education Act, responding to Florida’s critical workforce needs. Hutson closed loopholes in the release of sexual violent predators making Northeast Florida’s most vulnerable citizens safer. Also, Hutson improved the water quality in Florida, as he successfully carried Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s water policy reform in the Florida House.

Hutson works in his family’s business, assisting in property and agricultural management and local charitable giving. He also sat on the board of directors for HandsOn Jacksonville and on the development committee for St. Augustine Youth Services and has been a member of the board of directors for EPIC in St. Johns County. Previously, Hutson was a realtor with Watson Realty. In 2010, Hutson worked for Ambassador John Rood with the Vestcor Companies and specialized in sales and acquisitions, as well as analyzing financial data for incoming and outgoing deals.