• Team Rusty

Rusty Roberts enters crowded congressional race

Republican was former Rep. John Mica’s chief of staff

Rusty Roberts, former Congressman John Mica’s longtime chief of staff, is joining a crowded field of Republicans vying for an open congressional seat being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

Roberts announced his candidacy for Florida’s 7th Congressional District on Tuesday, highlighting a political resume that includes 18 years working for Mica, a Republican who represented District 7 from 1993 to 2017.

“The last time we had a balanced federal budget was when Republicans took control of Congress in the mid-1990s,” Roberts said in a prepared statement. “I worked successfully with Congressman Mica and Republicans to put the brakes on reckless Washington spending.”

Murphy, who defeated Mica in 2016, is not running for re-election. Barring a veto from Gov. Ron DeSantis or litigation, the 7th Congressional District would become more GOP-friendly with the addition of parts of Volusia County under a redistricting plan passed by the Florida Legislature.

Roberts also served as chief of staff for former U.S. Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami and South Florida director for former U.S. Sen. Paula Hawkins.

After his tenure on Mica’s staff, Roberts joined former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s lobbying firm. He then went on to work for Brightline, the high-speed passenger train system.

Roberts joins 11 other Republicans in the field, including Brady Duke, Cory Mills, Jeremy Liggett, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Erika Benfield and Joe Cavagna.

Two Democrats — Al Krulick and Allek Pastrana — have declared their candidacy.

Source: Orlando Sentinel (

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