The field of candidates is down to one in House District 49, after one potential challenger said she won’t be running and a filed candidate withdrew over the weekend.
Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration regional director Betsy Franceschini confirmed late Friday that she would not be running for the east Orlando seat that includes the University of Central Florida.
Franceschini released a prepared statement saying, “Thank you for urging me to run but my family’s needs come first and I cannot run at this time. Thank you everyone for your support.”
Franceschini was considered a serious contender for the seat, but sources say her job is too demanding at the moment with the influx of Puerto Ricans moving into the region.
On Sunday Gus Martinez confirmed to Florida Politics that he had withdrawn from the contest saying, “I have indeed decided to withdraw from running in District #49. This in no way diminishes my desire to continue serving the homeless, poor, or elderly in that district or the current district I live in. Should the opportunity and backing arise at a later time where I can serve all people in the House or County District I currently live in I will seriously give it the consideration it merits.”
That leaves Carlos Guillermo Smith as the only candidate filed to run in the seat that is expected to be open in 2016, with Republican incumbent Rene Plasencia announcing he will be running House District 50.
Smith, a former chairman of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee, is off to a solid fundraising start and last week announced endorsements of 13 sitting Democratic members of the House. On the Republican side, businessman Peter Vivaldi is expected to make a decision soon on whether he’ll run.