Republican challenges Heller in state House District 52
Connie Deneault, a St. Petersburg Republican, filed Tuesday to run against two-term state Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg, in District 52.
Deneault, 63, a former State Farm insurance agency head, said he has never run for office, though he has helped campaigns before. He has not worked much with the local Republican Party, but he plans to start Monday. He said people risk losing their rights in the current political environment, though he said he's not affiliated with any Tea Party groups.
He knows enough to start a fledgling campaign Web site though.
"I'm just frustrated and angry about the politics that has gone on," said Deneault, though he also described himself by saying, "I'm not a State Farm representative, I'm just a plain old retired American citizen who decided to get in the mix."
Among other issues, he said the state's insurance system leaves it on a "ticking time bomb" if a hurricane hits. Part of the answer is "equitable rate adjustment, (but) I didn't say higher." Deneault said he worked in a variety of jobs for State Farm, including overseeing work after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Heller has raised $26,700 so far and spent $3,800.
David DeCamp, Times staff writer