Orlando Democratic Rep. Amy Mercado is facing a serious challenge in her bid to hold on to Orange County’s House District 48.
Orlando Republican Scotland Calhoun entered the HD 48 race in mid-June and quickly posted a moderate $3,535 report for the nine days she was a candidate before the June 22 qualifying deadline. The new report saw her campaign account balloon thanks to a $50,000 check from the Republican Party of Florida.
RPOF’s big-time check was offset by only $585 in spending, leaving her with more than $51,000 banked at the end of the June 23 through July 6 reporting period.
That total puts Calhoun ahead of Mercado, who had $34,398 banked on July 6. From here on out, however, Calhoun will need to attract some other donors as Florida statute puts a $50,000 limit on political party contributions to individual candidates.
Mercado, for her part, raised $1,875 during the two-week reporting period, including a $1,000 check from the United Association labor union and $500 from a political committee tied to Fort Lauderdale Democratic Rep. Bobby DuBose. Spending measured in at $3,288, including a $2,500 payment to Orlando-based In Touch Strategies for campaign consulting.
HD 48 covers part of central northern Orange County, including part of Orlando. The district has a strong blue lean, with Democratic voters making up 47 percent of the electorate compared to an 18 percent share for Republicans.
Mercado took 80 percent of the vote in her 2016 election against independent candidate Gus Martinez. The district also voted plus-45 for Hillary Clinton.
Prior to Mercado’s election HD 48 was held by her father, now-Sen. Victor Torres. He didn’t face an Election Day challenger in 2012 or 2014.