State Senator Travis Hutson will have a general election opponent after all. Curtis Ceballos, the CEO of GabRy Inc., filed last week for the Democratic primary.
Ceballos’ company develops apps for mobile phones, including secure payment applications such as Digitz (“the first fingerprint purchase system”), and apps that permit voice posting to social media platforms.
As one would expect in that sector, Ceballos is a startup kind of guy, and his campaign will fit that model, being heavy on the grassroots outreach, including one on one conversations and small contributions in accordance with what the candidate called the “volume theory.”
To make that message resonate in a heavily Republican district against an incumbent with considerable family resources and business connections, Ceballos will have to take his message to the people.
“I don’t have the money the Hutsons have to dump into a campaign fund,” Ceballos said, so his appeal will be to those who “hear my voice and see my face.”
Central to that message, Ceballos told FloridaPolitics.com, is “bringing more state money” to the region for technology, small business, and job creation, as well as bringing more “education dollars” to “our little piece of paradise.”
Ceballos said the region is like “Silicon Valley, except closer to the beach.” As an app developer, he sees that a “lot of people are interested” in building the under-heralded tech sector in the area.
Ceballos has run for office before, he said: a County Commission run in 2006 saw him lost by around 130 votes.
He also wanted to emphasize that he has “nothing against” Sen. Hutson, saying that he contacted Hutson to let him know he had no intentions of running a “dirty campaign.”
“I give him kudos for the job he’s done so far,” Ceballos said, but he felt it important that there be a Democrat in the race so that Hutson did not run unopposed.
As is often the case with entrepreneurs, Ceballos does not lack for confidence, even in a district where 46 percent of voters are GOP and only 32 percent are Democrats.
“I am passionate,” Ceballos said. “I achieve everything that I set out to do.”
If elected, Ceballos wants to see more state resources devoted to vocational education, noting that “a lot of students who don’t want to go to college” could get a vocational education, then an “apprenticeship” in HVAC, plumbing, or other fields.
This would stimulate the economy, allowing them to be business owners a few years after completing that education.
Another goal: more money for startup tech companies.
“If we invest more in startup companies,” Ceballos said, “it will stimulate the economic base.”
A closing fun fact: Ceballos has at least one famous relative: Cedric Ceballos, of the Showtime-era Los Angeles Lakers, is a “very distant cousin.”
Beating Travis Hutson is a tall order, and while Ceballos doesn’t guarantee victory, his ballot presence at least ensures an actual SD 7 race.