Veteran James Judge latest Republican challenger to Kathy Castor for House seat

WASHINGTON — Tampa businessman and Republican political newcomer James Judge is the latest candidate to file for the 14th congressional district seat held by Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor.

Judge, a Coast Guard veteran who now runs Judge’s public relations in Tampa, seeks to brag about his status as an outsider against “career politician” Castor, who is running for re-election.

He said he didn’t think Castor adequately represented veterans or defense issues.

He also spoke out against what he saw as the federal government’s overreach in pandemic restrictions, including vaccination mandates, saying he believed its tough stance on the issue would set him apart from Castor.

“I was in the military. I had more vaccines than most people could ever dream of,” Judge said, but “we completely went overboard with the COVID thing.

Judge, 37, is perhaps best known locally for his work with the Skyway 10k, a charity race that benefits the Armed Forces Families Foundation.

The judge said his campaign was partly hampered by censorship on social media sites like Facebook, which he said flagged a message of his support for Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted of criminal charges in the shooting. and the killing of two people during unrest and protests in Kenosha. , Wisc., following the police shooting of a black man.

So far, the judge has two other Republican challengers he will face in the Aug. 23 primary: Army veteran Jay Collins and Coast Guard Auxiliary member Angel Urbina, who ran without success at the State House in 2020.

Related: Green Beret veteran challenges Kathy Castor for House seat

Urbina brushed off a question Thursday about other Republican challengers, saying he feels good about his campaign to reach Tampa voters and adding that Castor’s decade-long congressional career and record of supporting Democratic leadership are “the first advantage” of his campaign.

James Judge with Governor Ron DeSantis on January 13, 2022. [ courtesy James Judge for Congress ]

Whoever wins the Republican primary will likely have an uphill battle for the highly Democratic Tampa-based seat. In the 2020 general election, Castor defeated Republican challenger Christine Quinn with 60% of the vote.

Castor’s campaign did not return voicemails left Wednesday and Thursday for this story.

Castor will also face a Democratic primary that includes U.S. Special Operations Command cyber defense director Christopher Bradley.

District boundaries may change before the 2022 election due to the once-a-decade redistribution process.

The judge’s campaign reported raising more than $100,000 since he filed his case to enter the race in mid-December. The judge said his donations came from a mix of political parties, including some from friends and family. Castor’s latest campaign financial report is not yet available, but as of September 30, he had raised approximately $335,000.

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