Chris Gregg defeated James Mathieu in the Republican primary for the state House seat in District 36, according to unofficial returns Tuesday.
Gregg will face Amanda Murphy, a Democrat, who eked out a win last October defeating minister Bill Gunter by 305 votes in a special election to fill Mike Fasano’s longtime House seat. She became the first Democrat sent to Tallahassee by Pasco County voters in more than two decades.
It was the third attempt to win the House seat for Mathieu, who chairs the county’s GOP Executive Committee. He challenged Fasano in 2012 and sought the party nomination last year, losing to Gunter.
Gregg has said he doesn’t think Murphy can be effective in Tallahassee as a member of the minority party.
“She’s the lone Democrat in the county — she’s at a disadvantage in a Republican legislature,” he said. “I can work with [House] Speaker Steve Crisafulli and the leadership.”
As a former Air Force Reserve flight medic, he said he hopes to appeal to veterans across party lines. Gregg wants to repeal the nuclear power plant fee from Duke Energy. Gregg also sent out mailers during the campaign saying he opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants and efforts to house those immigrants in Pasco jails. He also supports using the National Guard on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Gregg was part of a crowded Republican field in 2012 in the race for the District 3 county commission seat long held by Anne Hildebrand. Kathryn Starkey won the five-way primary without a runoff and eventually defeated Democrat Matt Murphy (Amanda’s husband) in the general election. In that race, Gregg sent out negative mailers portraying Starkey as a lipstick-wearing rhinoceros. He also ran for the state House in Pinellas County as a no party candidate in 2000.