State Rep. Rene Plasencia got a warning sign Saturday night that his bid to return for another term in the Florida House from District 50 may be in jeopardy when he lost decidedly to challenger George Collins in a straw poll at the Brevard County Republican Executive Committee.
“I’ve been working Brevard very hard. Most of the Republican voters are out that way,” Collins said. “I think he’s underestimated how hard I am working out there.”
In the Brevard REC straw poll, taken at a meeting Saturday night, Collins got 256 votes and Plasencia 169. Collins attended. Plasencia did not, though he sent representatives.
In another hot contest, state Rep. Debbie Mayfield topped state Rep. Ritch Workman in a poll for the Republican nomination for State Senante District 17, which covers south Brevard and Indian River counties. Mayfield, of Vero Beach, got 300 votes; Workman, of Melbourne, 198; and Mike Thomas, of Melbourne, 83.
HD 50 covers east Orange County and north Brevard County. Plasencia, who currently represents the adjacent House District 49, switched to run in HD 50 this year, which has a much stronger Republican base. HD 49 has a much stronger Democratic base.
Collins, a TV producer and motivational speaker, entered the Republican primary. Both Collins and Plasencia, a high school teacher and coach, are from the Orange County side of the district. The winner would face Democratic nominee Sean Ashby, also an Orlando high school teacher and coach.
In other contests polled at the Brevard REC, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio topped challenger Carlos Beruff 411-105; state Rep. Tom Goodson of Cocoa, the current HD 51 incumbent, topped challenger Tim Tumulty of Cocoa Beach 297-162; and state Sen. Thad Altman came out on top of a four-way contest for House District 52. Altman, of Melbourne, got 208 votes; Brian Hodgers, of Melbourne, 154; Monique Miller, of Melbourne, 102; and Robert “Fritz” VanVolkenburgh, of Melbourne, 86.