Michelle Salzman has won the Republican nomination to State House District 1 in an upset win over incumbent Rep. Mike Hill and will go on to face Democratic nominee Franscine Mathis in November.

Salzman beat out Hill with 1,047-vote lead with total votes for Salzman at 11,064 to Hill’s 10,017. 

Meanwhile, Mathis won the Democratic primary against Barbara Scott-Shouse with 36-point lead.

Salzman’s campaign hit Hill’s legislative record of failing to get a single bill passed that he sponsored and only filing one appropriations bill during his six legislative sessions.

“We’re getting the same thing every time he goes to Tallahassee,” Salzman said during a candidate forum in July. “I appreciate his passion for the unborn. I appreciate his passion for the Second Amendment, but we don’t need appreciation and passion, we need results. We need an effective leader.”

Salzman is a long-time Pensacola area volunteer, former president of Escambia County Council of PTAs and Army veteran.

Hill argued he was the true conservative in the race and he would continue doing exactly what he’d been doing the legislator such as sponsoring a bill to repeal gun control measures passed in 2018 or sponsoring a bill ban abortions is a heartbeat is detected.

“I brought it forward the past two sessions,” Hill said at the same forum in July. “I guarantee you, I will bring it forward again. And I don’t need anyone’s permission to do it. I’m not going to ask my colleagues. I’m not going to ask leadership. I’m going to do it because my oath of office compels me too.”

Hill, a Pensacola-area insurance agent and Air Force veteran, was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in a special election in 2013 to House District 2. He left his seat in 2016 for an unsuccessful bid to the state Senate. He ran again for the House in 2018, but this time in District 1 and won.

The race turned negative as mailers started going out from Hill’s political committee and Hill ran TV ads accusing Salzman of not supporting Republicans.

Salzman filed an election complaint over one add that used a quote by Mathis supporting defunding the police that was designed to appear as if Salzman said the quote.

District 1 is considered a safe Republican seat in the general election leaving Mathis, a nurse and community activist, with an uphill battle in the general election against Salzman.

Jim Little can be reached at jwlittle@pnj.com and 850-208-9827.

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