New candidates file to run against Chuck Clemons, Mike La Rosa

candidates race

Republican Reps. Chuck Clemons and Mike La Rosa each took on new opponents in their re-election campaigns for House Districts 21 and 42, respectively.

In Clemons’ Gainesville-based district Shreyas Amol Kumar Jethwani made it a two-way Democratic primary race to unseat the freshman lawmaker after he joined Jason Haeseler, who filed Jan. 11.

A third Democrat, Joe Additon, filed for the seat last month but said in a Facebook post earlier this month that he was stepping aside and endorsing Haeseler for health reasons.

Clemons had raised $67,626 through the end of 2017 and had a little under $60,000 cash on hand, while Additon had raised just $200 through his first few weeks in the campaign. The initial campaign finance reports for Jethwani and Haeseler are due in mid-February.

HD 21 includes Dixie, Gilchrist and part of Alachua counties. In 2016, Clemons won the seat 54-46 against Democrat Marihelen Wheeler.

In HD 42, La Rosa picked up a GOP challenger in Bienvenido Valentin Jr., which could set up a Republican Primary for the district if Valentin qualifies for the ballot.

Valentin ran against La Rosa as a Democrat in the 2016 cycle, and La Rosa beat him 55-45 on Election Day to cruise to his third term in HD 42, which covers parts of Osceola and Polk counties.

Valentin joins fellow challengers Barbara Cady, a Democrat, and Lonzell Ivory Jr., who has no party affiliation, in the race.

La Rosa raised $88,907 for his re-election bid and had $50,629 on hand through the end of December. Cady, by the same date, had $8,700 in the bank, while Ivory has yet to report any contributions since filing in June.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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