Bruno Portigliatti to challenge Geraldine Thompson in HD 44

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“I’m ready to fight to keep the American dream alive"

A second Republican is looking to oust Democratic Rep. Geraldine Thompson in Orange County’s House District 44.

Orlando businessman Bruno Portigliatti announced Thursday that he has signed up to run for the seat, joining fellow Republican Frank Blanco, also of Orlando.

“Central Florida is a community of great opportunity and growth that embodies the principles which make our country great,” Portigliatti said in a news release.

The USF and Florida Coastal law school alum also took a shot at Thompson, who’s in her second stint in the House — she served from 2006 through 2012 before jumping up to the Senate for a four-year term ending in 2016.

“As someone who’s always strived to live beyond myself in service to others, I’m running for the Florida House of Representatives because I can’t sit idly by while career politicians threaten the conservative values which define our community.

“I’m ready to fight to keep the American dream alive and make a lasting impact in our community for generations to come. Our work begins today and I’m excited to get our message out to voters.”

Portigliatti cited HD 44’s voter registration numbers, which slightly favor Republicans. Indeed, the seat was held by a Republican, Bobby Olszewski, before Thompson eked out a two-point win in November.

Portigliatti has tried out for HD 44 before. In a 2017 special election he took 18 percent of the vote in the four-way Republican primary won by Olszewski.

The longtime Orlando currently works as the President of Florida Christian University and as the CEO of Excellence Senior Living, a luxury assisted living facility. He is also a licensed real estate agent and manages several real estate properties and developments.

His civic resume includes holding a board seats with the Dr. P Phillips YMCA and Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges; chairing the City of Orlando’s Women and Minority Business Enterprise Certification Board; and serving as Vice President of the Council of Private Colleges of America.

HD 44 covers western Orange County, including the communities of Winter Garden and Windermere.

Thompson and Blanco have been sluggish on the fundraising front so far. As of June 30, the incumbent had $100 in the bank while Blanco had $140.

Drew Wilson

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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