Pre-election day turnout approaches 9 percent in HD 44 special primary

Usha Jain, John Newstreet, Bobby Olszewski, Bruno Portigliatti, HD 44 Republican candidates

Nearly 9 percent of registered Republicans already have voted in Florida’s House District 44 in the primary race set for conclusion Tuesday.

The Republican primary race between Bruno Portigliatti, Bobby Olszewski, John Newstreet, and Usha Jain is in legal jeopardy because of a lawsuit brought last week seeking to disqualify the Democrat Paul Chandler, who is awaiting the GOP winner. If a judge disqualifies Chandler, the Republican primary could be challenged.

But the four candidates have turned their attention away from the suit and to the last few doors they can knock on and phones they can call for Republican voters in the district, which covers southwest Orange County.

The latest voter turnout numbers posted by Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles shows that by Sunday night, 3,950 Republicans, 8.8 percent of those eligible, had voted by mail or in early voting. About 70 percent of those had voted by mail.

The largest numbers of votes continue to come from the central part of the district where three of the candidates live, Portigliatti, Newstreet and Jain. The Dr. Phillips-area Precincts 128 and 113 each has produced more than 250 votes. In Precinct 113, 17 percent of Republicans turned out by mail or at the early-voting stations. Six of the other seven precincts that had at least 150 votes also were in the central part of the district, in the Dr. Phillips or Windermere/Lake Butler regions.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, at the 38 assigned polling places throughout HD 44.

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 Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused.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]



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