Businessman and Kissimmee chamber of commerce executive John Newstreet has qualified by petition as a Republican candidate running in the special election to fill the Florida House District 44 opening for west Orange County.
And in the same district, a second Democratic candidate now has filed, Nuren Durre Haider of Orlando, who is vice chair of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee. Haider ran unsuccessfully last year for a seat on the Orange County Commission.
Newstreet collected 350 valid petition signatures, 54 more than needed, to become the third Republican candidate to qualify in the race, which now officially is on for a Republican primary on Aug. 15.
Fellow Republican Winter Garden businessman Bobby Olszewski qualified by petition last week, and fellow Republican Dr. Usha Jain qualified earlier this week. Businessman Bruno Portigliatti, also a Republican, has filed his intents to run, as has Democratic businessman Paul Chandler.
Neither Chandler nor Haider has filed any signatures yet, nor has Portigliotti. Once Chandler and Haider qualify, that would also force an Aug. 15 Democratic primary. The general election is set for Oct. 10 to fill the seat, vacated when former state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle resigned to take a judicial appointment.
Newstreet only filed less than a month ago.
“The support we are receiving from the voters in District 44 has been overwhelming and unexpected this early in the campaign,” Newstreet stated in a news release issued by his campaign. “They understand we need a conservative in Tallahassee, someone who has a lifetime of service to veterans and the community with a track record of creating jobs.”