A majority of the races for Central Florida’s seats in the Legislature haven’t heated up yet, but a handful of incumbents have drawn a challenger (or two) in the six months since Election Day.
This cycle, only even-numbered seats in the Senate are up for grabs, so Orlando’s Senate seats – SD 11, SD 13 and SD 15 – won’t be on the ballot until 2020, and only one of the three even-numbered Senate seats has multiple candidates.
In SD 12, Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley has a little over $18,000 in the bank and is currently unopposed. Republican Sen. Dorothy Hukill is in a similar situation in SD 14 with $46,300 in the bank, with no challenger in sight.
In SD 22, incumbent Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel is running against Democrat Robert Doyle. Redistricting put Stargel in a more competitive district than the old SD 15. In her 2012 contest, she bested Democrat Stego Blue by 17 points, but that margin shrunk to 7 points in the 2016 race against Democrat Debra Wright.
Doyle filed June 1 and hasn’t posted any fundraising numbers yet, though he’ll have to hit the ground running to catch up to Stargel’s $37,000 campaign account.
In the House, first-term Republican Rep. Tom Leek hasn’t drawn a major party opponent yet in HD 25, and so far, has raised more about $33,000 for his re-election campaign, all of which he has on hand in his campaign account.
Leek probably isn’t too worried about a Democratic challenger in the right-leaning district, but the entrance of Libertarian Joseph Hannoush in the race in late March means Leek’s re-election won’t go unopposed.
Since filing for the Daytona Beach seat, Hannoush has raised just $1,500, with a third of that money coming from himself.
Over in HD 27, incumbent Republican David Santiago has a pair of challengers. The third-term representative has raised a healthy $33,000 for his re-election campaign and has about $23,000 of that money on hand.
Republican William McBride, a personal injury attorney, looks like he will again step aside for Santiago in 2018. He was able to raise about $37,000 and even put $250,000 of his own money into his campaign in its first few months but has posted nothing but fundraising waivers since December, when he paid himself back for the bulk of his campaign loan.
Tyran Basil, a Democrat, filed for the Volusia County seat in mid-April and has about $225 on hand.
In HD 40, Republican Rep. Colleen Burton is facing a pair of Democrats in her third election for the Polk County seat. So far she has raised $34,000 and has $27,500 of that money on hand.
Neither of her challengers, Jason Montgomery and Shandale Terrell, haven’t shown much in the way of fundraising, and given the seat’s Republican lean, Burton likely has little to worry about.
Most other incumbents in Central Florida haven’t drawn any challengers, and the bar on fundraising during the Legislative Session has left them with the same tally they had back in March, except for a few dips due to campaign spending.
HD 43 Democrat John Cortes has $14,500 on hand, while first-term Democrat Kamia Brown has $4,500 in the bank for her unopposed re-election bid in HD 45. Democrat Bruce Antone has yet to show any fundraising for his final campaign in HD 46, though he didn’t officially file to run for re-election until the first day of the 2017 Legislative Session.
In HD 48, first-termer Amy Mercado has $11,600 in her campaign account, and in HD 49 Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith has a smidge over $2,000.
As is typical for Florida campaigns, the Republican candidates are faring a little better on the fundraising trail. Rep. Mike Miller has an even $14,000 in his campaign account for HD 47, while HD 50 Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia has $27,000 in the bank.
Representative-turned-Senator-turned-Representative Thad Altman has $4,500 on hand in HD 52, 2022 House Speaker hopeful Randy Fine has $38,000 in his campaign account in HD 53 and Vero Beach Rep. Erin Grall has about $19,500 in the bank for her HD 54 re-election bid.