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Bobby Olszewski earns Mike Haridopolos’ endorsement in HD 44

Republican Bobby Olszewski has received the endorsement of former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos in the state House District 44 special election race.

The nod from Haridopolos adds to that of his Florida Legislature fellow leader House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and about three dozen local leaders from west Orange County, where HD 44 is located, who’ve come out in support of Olszewski.

A former Winter Garden commissioner, Olszewski wants to succeed former state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, who left after this year’s Legislative Session ended two weeks ago because he was appointed to an open judge’s seat on Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeals.

No special election has been scheduled yet, but a primary is likely to be called for mid-summer and a general election shortly after that.

So far there are two other candidates in HD 44, both of whom entered the race before Eisnaugle left office creating the need for a special election. Fellow Republican Dr. Usha Jain Orlando said that she, like Olszewski, would refile for the special election, so that would create a Republican primary. The only Democratic candidate is Paul Chandler of Orlando, who also is committed to running in the special election.

There are a couple of other big-name Republicans who have said they are considering getting in: former Orange County Commissioner Scott Boyd, whose district covered much of the same area as HD 44; and lawyer Will McBride, who is a former U.S. Senate candidate.

“Bobby Olszewski is a community leader who is dedicated to bringing conservative principles to the Florida House of Representatives,” Haridopolos said in a news release issued by Olszewski’s campaign. “I’ve known Bobby for years and I believe there is no one better suited to stand up for West Orange County in Tallahassee. Bobby will dedicate himself to serving his constituents and being an effective voice for his community in the state’s Capitol.”

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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