Republicans looking to flip Florida Senate District 3 may have found a real candidate to unseat a Democratic in the left-leaning district.
Marva Preston, a retired police officer and ordained minister, is looking to bring her conservative values to SD 3 in 2020 with Democratic Sen. Bill Montford facing term limits.
The 3rd District, encompassing Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties, previously represented the 6th district before it was redrawn. The district is known to lean left, with liberal strongholds like Tallahassee helping Montford carry the seat with over 67 percent of the vote in 2016.
Preston joins a still-adolescent Republican field, with the only other Republican being outspoken activist and blogger Benjamin Horbowy.
A graduate of Wakulla High School, Preston’s connections to the district are strongly solidified. She has an associates degree from Miami-Dade College and a bachelors degree in Public Administration from Florida International University. She’s currently working towards obtaining her master’s degree in criminal justice administration.
While impressive, Preston’s strongest qualification to serve the district is her 26 years of experience as a police officer for the City of Miami Police Department. As an officer in South Florida, Preston specialized in several areas, including homicide, sexual battery, child abuse, and anti-corruption. Her work in the anti-corruption unit is especially appealing to Republicans in the district who are fed up with the revolving door of deception and dishonesty that plagues Leon County.
Apart from her extensive professional experience, Preston has been a licensed ordained minister for 19 years. She is an actively involved member at Christ Church Anglican in Crawfordville, Florida.
“I have always, my entire life, been a servant to my community, my church, my family and to God,” Preston told RoundTable Politics. “I feel that being in office is another way that I can serve all of them at a higher level. I just feel a calling, I feel a need to do this at this time.”
With her announcement, Preston immediately becomes the front-runner on the Republican ticket, given her pro-law enforcement background and strong Christian values. With the field still filling out, Preston’s only opponent at the moment on the GOP side is Horbowy. While Horbowy filed early, Republican leadership has been reluctant to back him given his demeanor and razor-thin qualifications.
Compared to her early opposition, Preston has an advantage in almost every category. With her strong conservative background coupled with her substantial experience serving the public as a police officer, Preston has an impressive profile that any Republican would get behind. Add in the fact that she’s a conservative female running in a district where minorities can determine the outcome of a race, Preston has a strong chance to turn the seat solid red in 2020.
If successful in the general, Preston will face off against one of two Democrats who have currently filed to replace Monford. According to the State Supervisor of Elections, Democratic State Rep. Loranne Ausley and indicted and suspended City Commissioner Scott Maddox have filed to run on the opposite side.