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Heather Fitzenhagen - Parisima Taeb


Heather Fitzenhagen keeps well ahead of Parisima Taeb in fundraising

Incumbent state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen reported a modest increase in dollars in early September, but still holds a hefty cash advantage over Democratic challenger Parisima Taeb.

Fitzenhagen, a Fort Myers Republican representing Florida House District 78 since 2012, pulled in just $1,400 in early September, less than $200 more than the $1,242 raised by Taeb in the same time. But the incumbent holds about $95,211 in cash on hand to the Democrat’s $18,776. And she’s hosting a fundraiser at Bell Tower Shops in South Fort Myers today.

Fitzenhagen recently sat alongside Republican gubernatorial candidate during a meeting at Florida Gulf Coast University where he spoke with academic leaders about red tide.

Taeb, meanwhile, has served on roundtables on the subject of algal blooms put together by Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in the region. The medical doctor has been part of a Democratic trio of candidates campaigning heavily in Southwest Florida on science issues at a time when both red tide and blue-green algae deliver a brutal hit to the region’s ecosystem and economy.

But Fitzenhagen remains a leader within her own party. She claimed the Civil Justice committee in the Florida House last session and would enter her last term in the state House before term limits force her retirement.

Earlier this year, DeSantis considered Fitzenhagen as his running mate before instead tapping Jeanette Nuñez. And like DeSantis she earned the endorsement of the Everglades Trust earlier this year.

Neither Fitzenhagen nor Taeb faces primary challenges this year. Thus far, Fitzenhagen spent more than $148,000 on her re-election, while Taeb has spent more than $5,000.

Since her election to the district in 2012, Fitzenhagen has never faced a Democratic candidate on the November ballot. In 2012, she defeated Independent Kerry Babb with 67 percent of the vote to his 33 percent.

Taeb, a Fort Myers physician, earned media attention this year as one of multiple Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School graduates running for office in the wake of a national shooting at the school in February.

Republican Donald Trump won this House district with 53 percent of the vote over Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 42 percent.


Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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