Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey and Democratic challenger Sanjay Patel became the first Central Florida congressional contest formally set Monday when they both qualified for the ballot in Florida’s 8th Congressional District.

Patel, of Rocklege, a business consultant and Democratic Party officer in Brevard County, qualified by petition after having more than 9,100 signatures verified, while only needing 5,289.

Posey, the five-term incumbent from Rockledge, failed to gather enough signatures, with just 4,889 verified, but submitted a $10,440 check to qualify that way.

There are no other candidates who have filed to run in Space Coast-based CD 8, though they have until Friday to qualify.

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