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HD 49 candidate Carlos Guillermo Smith


Carlos Guillermo Smith raises more than $13K in April for his HD 49 race

Democratic House District 49 candidate Carlos Guillermo Smith raised $13,755 in April, one of the biggest hauls in any Central Florida state House race.

Smith attributed the impressive total, his biggest month since he announced his candidacy last June, to momentum from his work as an advocate in Tallahassee during the 2016 Legislative Session, and support from college students, who’ve volunteered for his campaign.

“It’s continued momentum behind our campaign; lots and lots of folks are really excited to see a progressive candidate like myself running for the first time for the Florida House of Representatives,” Smith said.

His April haul brings his campaign total fundraising effort to $93,030 since last June. His campaign entered May with a little over $72,000 in hand, according to records at the Florida Division of Elections.

Smith has two opponents in HB 49, Republican Amber Lynn Mariano and independent candidate Shea Silverman, who just filed to enter the race April 14. Mariano’s April fundraising numbers are not yet available through the Florida Division of Elections; in her first month, March, she raised $5,650 in about two weeks. Silverman raised $405 in two weeks in April.

The district, which covers much of east Orange County including the University of Central Florida, is currently represented by Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia of Orlando, but he switched to run in neighboring House District 50.

Smith also announced Monday that he has hired a campaign manager, Steven Lynch, cofounder of the UCF student-oriented Bernie Sanders group, Knights For Bernie.

Earlier Monday, longtime Democratic strategist Steve Schale picked HD 49 as the likeliest in the state to flip from Republican representation, under Plasencia, to Democratic representation, under Smith.

Smith, government affairs manager for the statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community rights group Equality Florida, also continued to show strong statewide fundraising prowess, picking up dozens of checks in April from South Florida and the Sarasota area. He attributed that to having developed a strong following through his work with Equality Florida and previously as a legislative aide.

Written By

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

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