You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Election 2020: Republicans vie for House District 27 nod

Daytona Beach News-Journal logo Daytona Beach News-Journal 8/12/2020 Mark Harper
Nerene Virgin et al. posing for the camera: Three candidates for the Republican primary for Florida House District 27: Zenaida Denizac and Webster Barnaby of Deltona and Erika Benfield of DeBary. [News-Journal file] © Picasa Three candidates for the Republican primary for Florida House District 27: Zenaida Denizac and Webster Barnaby of Deltona and Erika Benfield of DeBary. [News-Journal file]

Three Republicans want to replace state Rep. David Santiago in Tallahassee.

A hotly contested August primary race features three previously elected local officials: Webster Barnaby and Zenaida Denizac of Deltona and Erika Benfield of DeBary. The winner will face Democrat Dolores Guzman on Nov. 3.

THE RACE: Barnaby, a naturalized citizen from England, had raised and spent the most money through July. His campaign collected nearly $123,000 in contributions and had spent more than $100,000 of it. Almost $62,000 had gone to Data Targeting Research LLC, Gainesville, for consulting and mail advertisements, while another $30,000 was spent on television ads. Benfield raised $78,000, including a $25,000 loan to herself, and had spent $27,000 as of July 31. Denizac raised $31,000, spending $13,000. It's a closed Republican primary.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Webster Barnaby, Republican candidate for Florida House District 27 © Provided by Daytona Beach News-Journal Webster Barnaby, Republican candidate for Florida House District 27

THE SEAT: House District 27 covers southern Volusia County, from DeBary and Deltona to parts of New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater. Each of the 120 state representatives earn $29,697 annually. They meet in Tallahassee for a two-month session, and serve constituents and meet in committees year round.

a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Erika Benfield, Republican candidate for Florida House District 27 © Picasa Erika Benfield, Republican candidate for Florida House District 27

CANDIDATES' BIOS

NAME: Webster Barnaby

Nerene Virgin smiling for the camera: Zenaida Denizac, Republican candidate for Florida House District 27 © Picasa Zenaida Denizac, Republican candidate for Florida House District 27

AGE: 60

RESIDENCE: Deltona

PROFESSION: Small businessman and district manager at National Write Your Congressman

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Elected to Deltona City Commission, 2012. Ran unsuccessfully for Volusia County Council, 2014. Ran unsuccessfully for West Volusia Hospital Authority, 2018.

BARNABY'S TOP THREE PRIORITIES: I'll work with Gov. DeSantis to safely open the economy and promote our local businesses. I'll work to cut taxes, red tape, and regulations to help create high-paying jobs. I'll always fight for conservative values like protecting life, defending our Second Amendment rights, and standing with President Trump to end illegal immigration.

NAME: Erika Benfield

AGE: 40

PROFESSION: Interior Designer/Retail Business Owner

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Elected to DeBary City Council, 2016, where she serves as vice mayor. Unsuccessfully sought Republican nomination to replace the late state Sen. Dorothy Hukill on ballot in 2018.

BENFIELD'S TOP THREE PRIORITIES: My priorities are to help our governor re-open our economy safely. Being a small business owner myself, I know how hard the pandemic has been on the economy and how hard it's been to stay afloat. I will focus on improving infrastructure, traffic and water quality. As a mother, I will continue to fight for school choice and parental control of education decisions.

NAME: Zenaida Denizac

AGE: 60

PROFESSION: Retired Pine Ridge High School teacher.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Elected to Deltona City Commission 2005, 2010. Lost run for Deltona mayor, 2014. Cut short a run for House District 27 in 2016 when incumbent state Rep. David Santiago abandoned his run for Congress and entered the state Legislature race.

DENIZAC'S TOP THREE PRIORITIES: Re-launching our economy and avoiding a recession. Eliminating/reducing the business rent tax. Bringing vocational education into our school system.

1. What's your vision for the future of the District 27 economy?

BARNABY: Coronavirus has affected so many Floridians, including here in Volusia County. We should safely reopen our economy, create jobs, and lower taxes to support our families and small businesses. This is a beautiful area and with the right leadership, we have a bright economic future ahead of us.

BENFIELD: By serving on the Volusia economic board, Team Volusia the last few years I know what policies work to bring jobs. I will continue the fight to bring more jobs into the private sector, lower or remove the sales tax on commercial leases to help the business sector and get our next generation out into the work force as quickly as possible. There are hiring gaps to fill and with education access and better pay we can fill these positions to help boost our economy.

DENIZAC: My vision is to create a positive business climate that fosters economic opportunities by eliminating burdensome regulations and red tape. Furthermore, my vision includes a quality education with strong schools that support vocational and technical training to meet today's job market demands.

2. Do you believe the justice system should be improved for African-Americans in Florida? If so, what needs to be done? If not, please explain.

BARNABY: As a black man myself, I fully support the police. Calls to defund the police are unacceptable and I reject them. Instead, we should promote and foster an even healthier relationship between the police and the black community here in Volusia County.

BENFIELD: No one should be discriminated against in the United States. Lady justice should be blind, and all should presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, I will never vote to defund the police and know there are ways to improve training and techniques that can rebuild trust between the police and the communities they serve.

DENIZAC: I support criminal justice reform for all people. I support rehabilitation through educational and vocational programs as a pathway to get prisoners back on track upon release.

3. Does Florida in your opinion have constitutional laws with regard to gun control? How far do Second Amendment rights limit government's ability to restrict Americans' access to guns of all types?

BARNABY: The right to bear arms is one of the most important rights we have as Americans, helping us ensure our freedom many generations ago. I will protect the Second Amendment, oppose gun-grabbing legislation, and fight to stop bans on commonly owned so-called "assault" weapons.

BENFIELD: Florida has more than plenty of gun control and too much in my opinion as even with a concealed weapons permit you still have to wait to purchase a fire arm. State and local governments are limited to the same extent as the federal government from infringing upon this right. I will fully protect our Second Amendment if elected.

DENIZAC: Currently, we have laws that I consider to be unconstitutional and I disagree with, such as "red flag" and other legislation that discriminates against law-abiding young adults. The rights of Americans to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon. I support the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Daytona Beach News-Journal

Daytona Beach News-Journal
Daytona Beach News-Journal
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon