Category: News

James Shaw wins Tampa Bay Young Republicans Straw Poll for Republican Primary

August 7, 2022

Republican Commissioner of Agriculture Primary Candidate James Shaw won the Tampa Bay Young Republicans Straw Poll with 58% of the vote.

Chart Showing Which Candidate Tampa Bay Young Republicans Chose

Tampa Bay Young Republicans emailed surveys to their members that are registered republicans living within the area of their club. A total of 403 members were surveyed from Tampa Young Republicans.

Grant-Valkaria Founding Father and ‘James Shaw Supporter’ Bobby Putnam told Indian River News “Jim Shaw is the underdog in the upcoming Florida primary race. Shaw is running for Florida Agricultural Commissioner with a unique approach sure to surprise the establishment campaign watchers. Shaw has approached his campaign with extreme dedication and a commitment to meeting with individual constituents face-to-face. This is a strategy much like that used by ‘walking Lawton.’”

Tampa Bay Young Republicans President Brittany Lakhani told Indian River News “I took over the club with in January of this year. We put out endorsements in 2018 and 2020 but didn’t have the membership/infrastructure/money to do a big poll then. Jacksonville YRs and other clubs around the state have done straw polls every year for decades but they usually do them in person and I always thought those are flawed because it’s whoever shows up with the most friends. Ours is much more legitimate because we’re sending it to the whole membership on their own time. We are planning on doing these for each election now!”

Lakhani continued saying “James Shaw winning was really surprising. I did not expect it. What i would say is that you can see in the poll that our membership is not happy with the establishment GOP that’s why we gave them a 5/10 rating. While our leadership fully expects Wilton Simpson to win, his legislative fights with Ron DeSantis over redistricting, constitutional carry, and other issues puts him at odds with the Governor who the TBYR confidently feel is the best elected official in the country; this was a rejection of Republicans who forget about their base as can be seen with Lawrence Mcclure’s race as well.”

Lakhani also said “Our membership is now 450 members strong and growing accustomed to getting personal visits and meetings in Tallahassee from all local and even state wide elected officials, when an elected official doesn’t meet with the Tampa Bay Young Republicans at any point in their tenure or declines to take the organizations calls, our members take it personally. The Tampa Bay Young Republicans are an organization that are showing certain politicians that maybe they can’t keep ignoring the youth vote.”

Tampa Young Bay Republicans were awarded best Young Republican Club in the United States by the Young Republicans National Federation in 2020.

Tampa Young Bay Republicans are affiliated with the Florida Federation of Young Republicans, the same State Governing organization the Vero Beach Young Republicans are affiliated with.

The Vero Beach Young Republicans are the official Young Republicans Club in Indian River County, Florida. Former Vero Beach City Council Candidate Taylor Dingle is President of the Club.

Shaw is running against departing Senate President Wilton Simpson for the Republican Nomination for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture. Many in Indian River County have found Shaw to be what is considered a RINO, which is short for “Republican in Name Only.” Simpson was on one of the committees that helped created the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act. This law had the provisions for what is now known as Red Flag Laws. Indian River County Residents are heavily opposed to Red Flag Laws.

Red Flag Laws (or its’ legal name in Florida, Risk Protection Order) is when in Florida, a member of law enforcement petitions the local Circuit Court to have a hearing. This hearing called Risk Protection Hearing, held within 14 days of being petitioned by Law Enforcement. Those who are being petitioned against are unable to have a lawyer appointed to them by the local court, in the event they are unable to get an attorney in time.

Many Indian River County Residents have expressed concern over whether or not due process is being followed by Florida State Law. So far there have been no significant challenges to the U.S. Supreme Court on the Red Flag Laws here in Florida.

Indian River News is told that the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office uses Risk Protection Orders to get other guns that were not taken under the Baker Act or similar.

It’s important to note in Florida, a person’s firearms are not taken before the hearing. They are only taken after the hearing, IF the Judge determines, based upon evidence presented, that the person in question is a danger to themselves or others.

Other States have different versions of Red Flag Laws that allow those that are not from law enforcement, such as family members, to petition the court to have guns removed from a person that may want to harm themselves or others.

Again, especially in these other States, concerns have been raised over whether or not Red Flag Laws are Constitutional.

The Primary Elections will be held on August 23rd. Early Voting will start Saturday August 13th will go until Saturday August 20th. Early Polling Places will be open from 7 AM to 4PM.

The following are the early voting places in Indian River County, FL:

  • Sebastian City Hall Council Chambers – 1225 Main Street, Sebastian

  • Supervisor of Elections Office – 4375 43rd Avenue, Vero Beach

  • Indian River County Main Library – 1600 21st Street, Vero Beach

Wait times will be shown on the Supervisor of Elections website at

Click here to view the full Straw Poll and Data from the Tampa Bay Young Republicans.

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