PORT RICHEY — Newly elected state Rep. Amanda Murphy has just left campaign mode, but could soon be in the thick of it again.
Just this week, Jim Mathieu, an attorney and chairman of Pasco's Republican Party, filed to run for House District 36 when the seat comes up for election next fall.
Since the Oct. 15 special election to replace Mike Fasano, now Pasco's tax collector, and serve the remainder of his term, Murphy has barely had time to savor her win.
She's interviewing for a district aide and plans to move into Fasano's old office at 8217 Massachusetts Ave., in New Port Richey, on Monday.
"We're supposed to get the phones turned on," she said.
Now comes word that Mathieu is running.
"I heard that," Murphy said, adding she isn't surprised that a candidate emerged so quickly. "I had prepared myself that it would be immediate."
Mathieu, a former city attorney and interim city manager, lost a three-way Republican primary in September.
He said he's running again because he understands the issues and legislative process better than most elected officials.
"And I'm running because the last time the voters didn't get a choice," he said.
Mathieu said he was up against a well-funded candidate in Bill Gunter, who poured tens of thousands of dollars into advertising. Voters missed out in hearing more about Mathieu and, as a result, Gunter won the primary.
By filing early, Mathieu can start to raise money to get his message out, plus the election isn't that far off, he said. The next primary is 10 months away.
"It's a short season and this will give me more time to put my message out there," he said.
Rich Shopes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6236.