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Argenio to challenge Mayfield for State House District 80 seat

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Conservative Republican Art Argenio announced Wednesday he will run for the Florida House of Representative seat held by Debbie Mayfield.Argenio, who helped form the Treasure Coast Tea Party in St. Lucie County, had filed papers to run for Joe Negron’s Florida Senate seat. He said he mailed the papers to Tallahassee on Monday. “I had considered running in 2008 against her,” Argenio said. “I met with her to see if I needed to run and she did satisfactorily. I thought she wouldn’t be as aggressive as me (on a conservative issues), but I thought she would be a steady vote and decided not to run.”However, Argenio said he became disillusioned with the representative through the course of her first term. Her vote to fund the SunRail system during a special session in December as the last straw, he said. That vote provided millions of dollars for a commuter line in central Florida with the goal of aiding the state in landing $2.5 billion from the federal government for a high-speed rail system.”The tipping point came during the special session,” he said. “It wasn’t done during regular session. Instead it was passed during the Christmas season when there was no time for public debate, no time for public discourse and no time for someone like me to disseminate information.”Argenio lives on North Hutchinson Island near the Indian River County border and says he has ties to the county.

“I run a business in Indian River County; I go to church in Indian River County and I send my daughter to school in Indian River County,” he said.He said he had planned to run for the Senate Distrct 28 seat held by Ken Pruitt, but when Port St. Lucie Republican retired last year and Joe Negron won in a special election, Argenio decided to end his bid.Mayfield won the seat her late husband had held with 65 percent of the vote in 2008 and has over $100,000 in her war chest.Argenio, who held the District 82 state House seat for one year after winning a special election in 1999, reportedly has about $50,000 for the campaign.

District 80 consists of portions of St. Lucie, Indian River and Brevard counties.

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