Democrat Alex Barrio jumps out to fundraising lead in HD 48

Alex Barrio Orlando House Democrat

Alex Barrio leapfrogged his opponent Amy Mercado in a heated Democratic primary for an Orlando-area state House race last month, according to newly released campaign finance data.

Barrio, who announced a run to succeed Rep. Victor Torres in HD 48 last month, raised $12,104 during the reporting period covering March 1 to March 31. Mercado raised $5,658, raising her total to $9,433.

Mercado, who is Torres’ daughter, has spent about $4,220, leaving her with about $5,213 on hand. The bulk of that money went to In Touch Strategies and Beat Creative, a pair of Orlando-based promotional firms. Barrio spent $1,800 in expenditures at a Winter Park firm called You Should Run.

The race is likely to be an intriguing 2016 Democratic matchup to replace Torres, who is leaving the House to pursue the recently redrawn Senate District 15.

Mercado, former Orange Democratic Executive Committee Chairwoman, announced an endorsement from the local firefighters’ union last last month. Barrio, for his part, also has deep ties to the local Democratic infrastructure.

Barrio was a longtime Tallahassee staffer for both the Senate minority caucus and for local Democratic pols, including Sen. Darren Soto and former Reps. Joe Saunders and Tony Sasso.

Barrio says he is running as a progressive, while Mercado’s campaign has taken a somewhat more moderate tone.

“I am humbled by the response I have received from people all over this state and country who are stepping up in favor of a fresh voice for Florida,” said Barrio in a statement Monday. “This district, with some of the lowest wages in the nation, is ground zero for the economic struggles that many face. We need authentic, experienced leadership that is going to fight for better wages, better jobs, and better schools in District 48.”

“The message is resonating,” he said. “People are tired of the same old politicians supported by the same old special interests always running for office and never getting anything done. This election is an opportunity for real change in our state. It starts with District 48.”

Ryan Ray

Ryan Ray covers politics and public policy in North Florida and across the state. He has also worked as a legislative researcher and political campaign staffer. He can be reached at [email protected].


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