State, county bal­lots set

Find out who is run­ning for of­fice across Cen­tral Florida.

Orlando Sentinel - - Front Page - By Gray Rohrer

TALLAHASSE­E — Qual­i­fy­ing for leg­isla­tive races ended Fri­day with one of the largest fields of can­di­dates in re­cent his­tory, as Democrats are look­ing to make in­roads into the Repub­li­can dom­i­nance in the House and Se­nate in Novem­ber.

The Florida Demo­cratic Party is more ac­cus­tomed to con­cen­trat­ing their re­sources on a few toss-up seats, but this year they’re tout­ing they have can­di­dates in all but one of the 141 seats up for grabs.

“What you’re go­ing to find this time around is a lot of these can­di­dates who usu­ally skate by are weaker than ex­pected,” said FDP ex­ec­u­tive di­rect Juan Pe­nalosa.

Democrats have been out of power in the Leg­is­la­ture since 1996, and Repub­li­cans hold a 23-17 ad­van­tage in the Se­nate and a 73-46 edge in the House. Democrats are hop­ing to flip three seats to gain a 20-20 split, giv­ing them the abil­ity to block ger­ry­man­dered dis­tricts when law­mak­ers draw new po­lit­i­cal maps in 2022. They plan on putting $2 mil­lion into down-ballot races, Pe­nalosa said.

Repub­li­can Party of Florida chair­man Joe Gruters, though, is con­fi­dent of not only hold­ing the open seats Democrats are look­ing to flip, but of adding to their ad­van­tage in each cham­ber.

“We’re not on the de­fen­sive; we’re go­ing on of­fense,” said Gruters, also a state se­na­tor from Sara­sota. “We’re go­ing to win back some of these seats that are out there, and we’re go­ing to ex­pand our ma­jor­ity.”

One of those seats, SD 9, is in Cen­tral Florida and cov­ers all of Semi­nole County and part of Vo­lu­sia. Pa­tri­cia SIg­man is the fa­vored can­di­date of the Demo­cratic es­tab­lish­ment but she’ll have to con­tend with four oth­ers to win her party’s nomi

na­tion.

Guerdy Remy, Alexan­der Dun­can, Alexis Carter and Rick Ashby also are vy­ing for the chance to take on Ja­son Brodeur, a for­mer state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the only Repub­li­can in the race. Jes­tine Ionotti will be on the Novem­ber ballot as a no party af­fil­i­a­tion (NPA) can­di­date.

There were two Cen­tral Florida races that weren’t crowded at all. Rep. Kamia Brown, D-Ocoee, will re­turn to Tallahasse­e af­ter fail­ing to at­tract a chal­lenger for her HD 45 seat, and Travaris McCurdy will re­place term-lim­ited Rep. Bruce An­tone, D-Or­lando, since no one else qual­i­fied for the race.

The pri­mary elec­tion is set for Aug. 18; the gen­eral elec­tion will take place Nov. 3.

Here’s a look at some of the other leg­isla­tive con­tests in Cen­tral Florida:

House Dis­trict 28: Democrats Pasha Baker and Lee Man­gold will square off in the pri­mary to see who will take on in­cum­bent Rep. David Smith, R-Win­ter Springs. Michael Ric­cio qual­i­fied as an NPA can­di­da­tel.

HD 29: In­cum­bent Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Long­wood, faces a pri­mary chal­lenger in Luther Dowe, who paid the qual­i­fy­ing fee of $1,782 by check on Wed­nes­day and has loaned his cam­paign $20,000. Plakon has more than $120,000 in his cam­paign war chest. If he pre­vails, Plakon will have a re­match with Demo­crat Tracey Ka­gan, whom he nar­rowly de­feated in 2018.

HD 30: For­mer Rep. Bob Cortes, R-Al­ta­monte Springs, is mount­ing a come­back, and eye­ing a re­match with Rep. Joy Goff Mar­cil, D-Mait­land.

HD 31: Repub­li­cans Ste­van No­vakovic and Keith Truenow will vie in the pri­mary to re­place Rep. Jen­nifer Sul­li­van, R-Mount Dora, who is va­cat­ing the seat. Democrats De­bra Ka­plan, who lost to Sul­li­van in 2018, and Crissy Stile will com­pete for their party’s

nom­i­na­tion.

HD 32: Stephanie Dukes, Linda Kero and Ryan Mo­rales will com­pete in a three-way Demo­cratic pri­mary to see who will take on in­cum­bent Rep. An­thony Sa­ba­tini, R-Howey-in-theHills.

HD 42: Four Repub­li­cans will con­tend for the nom­i­na­tion to re­place term-lim­ited Rep. Mike LaRosa, R-St. Cloud. They are Fred Hawkins, Dianna Lieb­nitzky, Gary Scott and Bien­venido Valentin. Demo­crat Bar­bara Ann Cady will face the win­ner in the gen­eral elec­tion, along with NPA can­di­date Leroy Sanchez.

HD 43: Rep. John Cortes, DKis­sim­mee, is leav­ing his seat to run for Osce­ola Clerk of Courts, and six Democrats have signed up to re­place him: Kristen Ar­ring­ton, Alex Bar­rio, Car­los Irizarry, An­drew Jeng, Tamika Lyles and Ri­cardo Ran­gel. There is no Repub­li­can can­di­date.

HD 44: In­cum­bent Rep. Geral­dine Thomp­son, D-Win­der­mere, must fend off a pri­mary chal­lenge from Andy Fer­rell if she is to meet ei­ther Frank Blanco or Bruno Por­tigli­atti, who will com­pete in the GOP pri­mary.

HD 47: Repub­li­cans Jeremy Sis­son and Kevin Moren­ski will square off in the Repub­li­can pri­mary to see who will chal­lenge in­cum­bent Rep. Anna Eska­mani, D-Or­lando.

HD 48: Rep. Amy Mercado’s de­ci­sion to leave to run for Or­ange County Prop­erty Ap­praiser spurred a scram­ble by Democrats to re­place her and five have signed up for the run – Daisy Mo­rales, Nel­son Pena, Julio Rocha, Tony Tso­nis and Samuel Vilchez San­ti­ago. The win­ner will face Repub­li­can Je­sus Martinez in the gen­eral elec­tion.

HD 49: Rep. Car­los Guillermo Smith, D-Or­lando, faces a chal­lenge from Repub­li­can Robert Prater.

HD 50: Rep. Rene Plasen­cia, R-Or­lando, will meet Demo­crat Nina Yoakum in the gen­eral elec­tion.

BOBBY CAINA CALVAN/AP

State Rep. Chris Sprowls, 35, ad­dresses the Florida House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Sept. 17, 2019, in Tallahasse­e af­ter the Repub­li­can was elected to lead the 120-mem­ber cham­ber.

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