Orlando’s three Senate seats are still looking like a lock for Democrats a month before Election Day, though Republican Realtor Dean Asher is still bringing in beaucoup bucks in the left-leaning Senate District 13 race.
The first-time candidate has added $47,000 to his campaign account and $17,500 to his political committee since Democratic primary voters picked former Rep. Linda Stewart as his opponent in the general election.
The haul leaves him with about $153,000 in his campaign account and another $163,000 in his committee, “Allegiant Friends for Florida.” Stewart, who has not yet filed her report covering Sept. 17 through Sept. 30, had about $17,000 in the bank on Sept. 16.
Over in SD 15, Democratic Rep. Victor Torres leads with about $35,000 on hand compared to about $17,000 for Republican challenger Peter Vivaldi, while Democratic Rep. Randolph Bracy is all but assured election in SD 11, as he only faces two write-in opponents on Election Day.
Republicans face much better odds in the area’s House seats. Republican Tom Leek has a $60,000 advantage over Democrat Noel Bickford in his quest to take over for Republican Rep. Fred Costello in HD 25, while Republican Rep. David Santiago built a $50,000 lead over Democrat Robert Mann since he ended his congressional bid to run for re-election to the Florida House.
Republican Rep. Mike La Rosa faces minimal opposition for re-election to HD 42, while Eric Eisnaugle, Scott Plakon, and exiting Sen. Thad Altman have already won their House races without opposition. Reps. Rene Plasencia and Tom Goodson also are enjoying healthy leads as they look to shift to Districts 50 and 51, respectively, while first-term Mount Dora Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan only faces a write-in on Election Day.
In HD 53, future House Speaker hopeful Randy Fine has about $164,000 in his campaign account, compared to about $1,300 for Democrat David Kearns. Fine’s political committee, “Foundation for our Children’s Future,” also found the time to send out $1,000 checks to five Republican House candidates: Alex Miller in HD 72, Chuck Clemons in HD 21, David Rivera in HD 118, John Couriel in HD 114, and Sam Killebrew in HD 41.
Democrats also have a couple Central Florida House seats already in the bag, including HD 45, where Kamia Brown emerged from the five-way primary to take over for Bracy, and in HD 46, where incumbent Rep. Bruce Antone fended off primary challenger Sheena Meade.
HD 48 and HD 49 also should be easy pickups for Democrats.
Amy Mercado, who is looking to replace her father, Rep. Torres, in the in the HD 48 seat, beat fellow Democrat Alex Barrio with 60 percent of the vote in the primary and now faces no-party candidate Augustin Martinez, who has less than $100 in the bank.
Similarly, Carlos Guillermo Smith faces no major-party opposition in HD 49, where he is set to take over the seat Plasencia is leaving to run in the more Republican-friendly HD 50.
About the only true contest going on among Central Florida’s House races is between incumbent Republican Mike Miller and TV professional Beth Tuura in HD 47.
Miller is the favorite in the race and his most recent campaign finance report shows him with more than $210,000 in the bank compared to just $15,000 for Tuura. However the nature of the seat, which was held by former Rep. Stewart before she lost a nail-biter to Miller the 2014 election, could make this race much closer than the finance reports would suggest.