Fred Hawkins raises $9K in bid for HD 42, tops in Central Florida
Fred Hawkins makes a deal to get of of charges he impersonated a LEO.

Fred Hawkins Jr.
Few April fundraising reports due to the Legislative Session.

Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr. raised $9,085 in April for his bid to succeed fellow Republican state Rep. Mike La Rosa for the House District 42 seat.

It was the only significant campaign fundraising in Central Florida during the month.

Hawkins, of St. Cloud, and a Democratic challenger in HD 42, Barbara Cady, of Kissimmee, were the only two candidates to pull in four figures in donations during April, though a handful of candidates’ campaign finance reports still were not posted after hours Friday by the Florida Division of Elections.

Incumbents were not allowed to raise money during the Florida Legislative Session, so April was the month for challengers, or those in open seat districts, to build momentum.

Hawkins, who had been energized by a $104,000 campaign kickoff in February, reported raising $9,085 in April, giving him $123,685 raised and $120,353 in the bank at the beginning of May.

Cady, who lost last November to La Rosa, reported raising $1,095 in April. That gave her $4,420 raised and $4,161 in the bank.

HD 42 covers southern and eastern Osceola County, then wraps a strip across north Osceola County to Polk County.

Two other Republican candidates and another Democrat in the HD 42 contest reported little or no activity.

Zane Matter of St. Cloud raised $65, giving him $129 in hand.

Benny Valentin of Kissimmee, who ran for the seat as a Democrat in 2016 and lost to La Rosa, has yet to report raising any money.

Democrat Victor Sims of Kissimmee raised no money in April and has $368 in the bank.

Elsewhere in contested races, there are no April reports from the three Republican candidates in House District 27 covering southwest Volusia County, where Republican state Rep. David Santiago is leaving due to term limits.

Webster Barnaby of Deltona entered April with $23,850; Erika Benfield of DeBary, with $13,180; and Zenaida Denizac of Deltona, with $6,450.

Also not reporting were the two newly filed Democrats running in House District 28 in northern and eastern Seminole County: Lee Mangold of Casselberry and Elizabeth McCarthy. Mangold did not file until May 1, after the period the report would cover. McCarthy got in in late March, so she should be reporting something for April. Incumbent Republican state Rep. David Smith came into May with $31,500 raised and about $12,000 of that in the bank.

In House District 32, covering northwestern Lake County, Democratic challenger Ryan Morales raised his first $355. Coming into May, incumbent Republican state Rep. Anthony Sabatini raised $4,025 and had $2,843 in the bank.

In House District 41, comprising central and parts of eastern Polk and a sliver of west Osceola counties, Democratic challenger Parker John Baro‘s April report has not yet been posted.

Baro, of Celebration, has not raised any money yet, while incumbent Republican state Rep. Josie Tomkow of Lakeland, has raised $28,491 and has about $18,400 of that in the bank.

In House District 44, Republican Frank Blanco and incumbent Democratic state Rep. Geraldine Thompson‘s reports had not yet posted.

Heading into April, Blanco had $139, and Thompson had not yet started fundraising.

Democrat Cynthia Harris, the only candidate to file so far for House District 46 in eastern Orange County, where Democratic state Rep. Bruce Antone is leaving due to term limits, reported picking up her first $95.

In other Central Florida House districts with unchallenged incumbents seeking re-election, a few spent some money in April.

There was one, Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of House District 49, who transferred $3,707 into his 2020 campaign account from his 2018 account, which is allowable. Smith, whose district covers northeastern Orange County, entered May with $3,733 in the bank.


Republican state Rep. Scott Plakon of Sanford had $4,200 for his re-election run in House District 29, covering north-central Seminole County.

Republican state Rep. Jennifer Sullivan of Eustis had about $31,000 in the bank for House District 31, covering northeastern Lake County and a sliver of northwestern Orange County.

Democratic state Rep. John Cortes of Kissimmee had $15,700 in the bank for House District 42, covering eastern Osceola County.

Democratic state Rep. Kamia Brown of Ocoee entered May with $7,700 for her re-election bid in House District 45 in eastern Orange County.

Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando had $10,000 available for her bid in House District 47 in central Orange County.

Democratic state Rep. Amy Mercado had $5,100 in the bank for her re-election try in House District 48, in southern Orange County.

Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia of Orlando had about $34,000 in his campaign account for House District 50 covering eastern Orange County and northwestern Brevard County.

Republican state Rep. Tyler Sirois of Merritt Island had about $9,500 in his campaign fund for House District 51 in northeastern Brevard County.

Republican state Rep. Thad Altman of Indialantic had about $5,500 on hand for his re-election run in House District 53 in central Brevard County.

State Rep. Randy Fine had $95,300 in the bank for his re-election campaign in House District 53 in southern Brevard County.

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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