Citing health problems, Democrat Fred Marra has formally withdrawn from the Florida House District 29 race, leaving no one facing incumbent Republican state Rep. Scott Plakon unless the Democrats name a replacement candidate.

Marra submitted his formal withdrawal of candidacy Friday, according to the Florida secretary of state’s office.

However, his name already is on the printed ballots in Seminole County, and mail ballots will be going out in mid-October. That leaves the Florida Democratic Party, in consultation with the Seminole County Democratic Party Executive Committee, with the option of naming a replacement candidate who could claim any votes cast for Marra in the general election.

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel said the Democrats have seven days to decide. If a replacement is named, then notes would be placed in voting booths indicating that a vote for Marra would result in a vote for his replacement.

There was no word Friday morning of what the Democrats intend to do, other than mull their options. Plakon was and certainly remains a heavy favorite in the Lake Mary-based district regardless.

In a text message to FloridaPolitics.com Friday afternoon, Marra said he is suffering from advanced kidney disease and high blood pressure, “issues that have been with me for the past three weeks.”

On Thursday he told FloridaPolitics.com in a text message that he was “temporarily suspending” his campaign to reassess matters, stating that, “This campaign has never been about me, but about Plakon’s voting for fracking [and] against Medicaid expansion and other issues facing Florida.”

Now the Lake Mary computer technician, who emerged in Central Florida politics in 2013 when he led a petition drive to ban the fracking method of oil and natural gas exploration in Seminole County, is officially out.

Plakon, who owns a publishing business and who politically is most known for his strong social conservatism, now has a much clearer track to head back to Tallahassee for a non-consecutive fourth term.

He also was not immediately available for comment Friday morning.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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