Parties ante-up in HD 44 special election - Florida Politics

Parties ante-up in HD 44 special election

The Florida Democratic Party has come to the late aid of its replacement nominee Eddy Dominguez in the House District 44 special election to be decided Tuesday, but the Republican Party of Florida also came through for its nominee Bobby Olszewski.

The latest campaign finance reports, the first reflecting Dominguez’ late entry and the last to be filed before tomorrow’s general election vote, show that Democrats, both state and Orange County parties, provided Dominguez with $7,600 worth of in-kind campaign help last week, a couple weeks after he was nominated.

That marked delivery on a promise from the party to help out, a promise Dominguez’s predecessor, Paul Chandler, complained was going unfulfilled when he withdrew last month. The party also helped arrange a get-out-the-vote effort Saturday, the last day of early voting. Republicans crushed Democrats overall in eight days of early-voting for the special election, but on Saturday Democrats had a big day, turning out 225 voters, to the Republicans’ 190.

Dominguez also reported $7,000 in in-kind staff and consulting from various Democratic-oriented consultants and workers.

Still, Republicans did better, at least directly from the party. They provided Olszewski with $9,500 worth of in-kind support, with $7,500 of that coming last week.

That’s in addition to the $23,000 worth of polling the party sponsored for Olszewski’s campaign in August and early September, before Dominguez entered the race.

Chandler resigned Sept. 13, and the Orange County Republican Party appointed Dominguez to replace him Sept. 18.

The latest finance reports were through last Thursday and were posted Monday morning by the Florida Division of Elections.

Dominguez was able to raise $6,507 in cash, including $2,000 from himself and his wife. He went into the weekend with $3,600 left to spend.

Olszewski raised $21,200 cash in the four-week period ending last Thursday and went into the homestretch with more than $30,000 left to spend. Overall, Olszewski raised more than $127,000 and spent more than $93,000 since entering the race in April. Much of that money was raised and spent to win what turned into a bruising Aug. 15 primary against three other Republican candidates.

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

1 Comment

  1. Might want to fix this: “Chandler resigned Sept. 13, and the Orange County Republican Party appointed Dominguez to replace him Sept. 18.”

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