Thanks to once-in-a-decade redistricting, local Republicans Elizabeth Fetterhoff of DeLand and Webster Barnaby of Deltona — both currently serving in the Florida House of Representatives — will be on the primary ballot against each other in the race to represent Florida House District 29.
Fetterhoff currently represents the DeLand area in House District 26, and Barnaby represents the Deltona area in House District 27. Following the 2020 redrawing of political boundaries, their districts now overlap.
Barnaby was born in the United Kingdom and moved to the U.S. in the 1990s. He previously served as a member of the Deltona City Commission and was elected to the Florida House in 2020, beating out now-congressional candidate Erika Benfield in the primary and former West Volusia Hospital Authority Chair Dolores Guzman in the general election.
Barnaby prides himself on being the only Black Republican serving in the Florida House, as well as being the first Black president of a Republican Club in Volusia County.
Fetterhoff, who previously served in the Florida Army National Guard, was elected to the Florida House in 2018 and re-elected in 2020.
On her campaign website, Fetterhoff boasts endorsements from Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, Lake Helen Mayor Cameron Lane, DeLand City Commissioner Chris Cloudman and the Florida Police Benevolent Association.
Barnaby, meanwhile, has picked up endorsements from the Florida Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, the American Medical Association and others.
Fetterhoff, who lives in DeLand, did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this story.
Due to an undisclosed illness, Barnaby missed some time during the 2022 legislative session.
According to an article in Florida Politics, Barnaby missed a month. He asked to be excused from committee meetings from the beginning of the session, Jan. 11, to Feb. 7, “due to medical reasons.”
Nowadays, Barnaby says he is feeling “100 percent,” but he would not disclose what illness he battled earlier this year, citing medical privacy laws.
Barnaby also came under fire before the start of the 2022 legislative session when he filed a bill that would have banned abortions at 15 weeks. While an abortion ban later passed, it was not the bill Barnaby filed.
He’s on the attack against his opponent, too. In a political ad on the Barnaby campaign’s official YouTube channel, a voice-over refers to Fetterhoff as a “liberal politician,” alleging she “takes big campaign contributions from liberals and lobbyists.”
“She’s a grifter. She’s been a grifter,” Barnaby told The Beacon. “She’s not got a conservative heart. She’s not a conservative. Elections have consequences, and it would be a huge mistake to put her back in the Florida House.”
The Fetterhoff campaign has paid nearly $12,000 to FWD Consulting Group LLC for services, including “finance consulting” and event supplies. FWD Consulting Group is owned by Fetterhoff’s husband, John Ward.
While Fetterhoff is listed as CEO of the company through the state’s business portal, she told Politico earlier this year that she had taken “an indefinite leave of absence” from the company.
The issues Fetterhoff is interested in, according to her website, though, are a greatest hits of the Florida Republican Party platform.
She wants to defend the Second Amendment, bring down the price of gas, and combat “woke culture.”
The two Republicans have raised comparable amounts of money for their campaigns. As of July 29, Barnaby’s campaign coffers had $160,305, while Fetterhoff’s had $134,273.76.
Whichever Republican comes out on top in the Tuesday, Aug. 23, primary will go head-to-head with Democrat Rick Karl in the general election Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Karl, an attorney who lives in DeLand, has not run for office before, but his father, Fred Karl, served as a state legislator in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and as a member of the Florida Supreme Court.
As of July 29, according to the Florida Division of Elections, Karl had raised $32,815 for his campaign, which he kicked off in May.