St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes’ Senate District 24 re-election campaign has collected enough signatures to make the ballot.
“I’m happy we were able to qualify for the ballot by petition,” Brandes said Friday. “We’re building a strong grassroots network and seeing broad support throughout the district, from St. Petersburg to Seminole, Largo and the Beaches. As we knock on doors and talk with voters, we’re excited to see our message of lower taxes and common-sense solutions resonate with concerned Pinellas County residents.”
Candidates must collect signatures from at least 1 percent of a districts voters to qualify by petition and avoid paying a fee. Brandes’ campaign said it has had 3,925 signatures verified by the Florida Division of Elections, beating the requirement by 625.
Brandes, a life-long resident of St. Petersburg, was elected to the Senate in 2012. If successful, his 2018 re-election will be his last before he hits term limits. Brandes is running against Democrat Carrie Pilon, who filed for SD 24 at the beginning of April.
SD 24 covers most of southern Pinellas County. The GOP has a 4-point advantage in voter registrations within the district, though it was carried by Barack Obama in both of his presidential elections before going plus-7 for Donald Trump in 2016.
Through the end of April, Brandes had more than $550,000 on hand between his campaign and committee accounts, including $300,000 of his own money, while Pilon had a little over $100,000 in the bank after her first month.
Neither candidate faces a primary challenger.