Republican HD 44 candidate John Newstreet fundraiser claims $20K

John Newstreet fundraiser

The race for the special election to fill Florida House District 44 got off to a big start Tuesday, the day five candidates qualified for the ballot, as Republican John Newstreet‘s campaign held a fundraiser aides say pulled in almost $20,000 and attracted a bevy of influential elected supporters.

Newstreet, executive director of the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce, held the event Tuesday evening at the home of Republican supporter Dr. Jason Pirozzolo.

Newstreet faces former Winter Garden Commissioner Bobby Olszewski, businessman Bruno Portigliatti, and Dr. Usha Jain in an Aug. 15 primary to fill the empty seat for HD 44, covering western Orange County. A general election will pit the winner against Democrat Paul Chandler.

“Team Newstreet continues to humble me with the tremendous support they provide,” Newstreet said in a statement Wednesday. “Last night exceeded every expectation I had and I am so thankful for those that came out. To borrow a phrase from my Coast Guard days, we are ‘full speed ahead!'”

Newstreet is the only candidate to have announced any campaign finance numbers since April. Because the election was converted from a 2018 contest to a special election, the campaign finance filing deadlines were altered, meaning the first report is not due until next month. After Newstreet announced a May total of $30,000 in contributions, he challenged his opponents to release their fundraising numbers as well. So far, none has.

Tuesday’s event had a number of elected and former elected officials as hosts, including Central Florida state Reps. Jason Brodeur, Bob Cortes, Mike Miller, and Rene Plasencia; Orange County Commissioners Betsy VanderLey, Pete Clarke and Bryan Nelson; Oakland Mayor Kathy Stark; Winter Garden Commissioner Mark Maciel; and several former elected officials, including former state Rep. Chris Dorworth and former County Commissioner Fred Brummer.

At least one Democrat also came, state Sen. Randolph Bracy, who also is an old friend of Olszewski’s. Bracy said Wednesday he is not supporting either Newstreet or Olszewski in the race, and attended at the request of a friend who wanted him to meet Newstreet. “I’m staying out of it,” Bracy said.

Scott Powers

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 [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704