State Sen. Darren Soto announced his Democratic congressional campaign has collected more than 2,400 signature petitions to get him on the ballot, pushing a grassroots effort in Florida’s 9th Congressional District rather than only paying the ballot qualification fee.

“I’m proud to have been voted into office by Central Florida voters six times over the past nine years,” Soto said in a news release issued by his campaign. “I have knocked on thousands of doors and talked with the voters face to face about their concerns.

Soto, an Orlando Democrat, is in a Democratic primary race in Orlando-based CD 9 with several other candidates, Susannah Randolph, Dr. Dena Minning, Valleri Crabtree and Ricardo Rangel.

Candidates need 2,298 valid petitions from Florida voters to qualify via that method. Otherwise, they can pay $10,440 to get on the ballot.

Soto’s campaign said the effort collected 769 signatures from Orange County, 386 from Polk County and 285 from Osceola County within the district.

I’m proud to have assembled a top-notch campaign team who has helped organize a strong grassroots campaign where we’re taking our message of bringing jobs to the district and building up the middle class directly to the neighborhoods and giving people an opportunity to discuss what matters to them most,” Soto said.

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