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Second Democrat challenges Sam Killebrew in HD 41

Democrat Alex Perkins filed paperwork Monday to run for House District 41, the Polk County-based seat currently held by Winter Haven Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew.

Perkins, who lives in Davenport, joins Winter Haven Democrat Carmelo Garcia in the primary race for the seat. The pair are on a level playing field as far as fundraising goes.

Garcia entered the race back in May, and despite the 9-month head start in the race he has yet to report any campaign contributions.

Garcia also carries some baggage – he was arrested on charges of grand theft the same day he filed for HD 41 over accusations he had written bad checks in 2016, though the Osceola County State Attorney’s Office dropped the charges in August.

Killebrew has held the seat since 2016 and is heading toward his term term in the House. Through the end of January, he had raised $42,600 for his re-election bid and had $36,910 on hand.

In past election cycles, HD 41 has had a decidedly Republican tilt.

The district voted plus-5 for Donald Trump in 2016 even though there are 8,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans within the district.

Former Rep. John Wood won the seat in 2012 with a 52-49 victory over Democrat Karen Welzel, followed by a 59-41 drubbing of Democrat Celestyne Williams in 2014. In 2016, Killebrew bested former circuit court judge Bob Doyel 53-47.

Those margins could shift if the so-called “blue wave” hasn’t petered out by November.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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