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Republican Lee Steinhauer enters HD 44 contest

Republicans have a slight voter registration advantage in Democratic state Rep. Geraldine Thompson’s district

A third of what might eventually become many Republicans candidates, Orlando lawyer and lobbyist Raleigh “Lee” Steinhauer, has filed to run for the Florida House of Representatives in House District 44 in Orange County.

Steinhauer, 37, of Winter Garden, joins lawyer Frank Blanco and businessman Bruno Portigliatti in seeking to flip back the seat won by Democratic state Rep. Geraldine Thompson in the 2018 election. Other potential candidates are mulling runs.

“I am a conservative, who believes in low taxes, secure borders, free market solutions and strongly supporting our military and veterans. I am also a problem solver with the ability to bring people together and a passionate and effective advocate for our schools and affordable housing.” Steinhauer stated in a news release. “Those are the skills and values I will take to Tallahassee to represent the citizens of District 44.”

Steinhauer is president of the government affairs and land use law firm the Steinhauer Group, an Orange County lobbyist, a member of the Orange County Charter Review Commission, and a member of Mayor Jerry Demings‘ Orange County Housing for All Task Force. He represents the Greater Orlando Builders Association and the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando. He’s also licensed to practice law in Florida, New Jersey, and New York.

As an Orange County Charter Review Commissioner, Steinhauer proposed a charter amendment that addresses school overcrowding so that schools could be built in a timelier manner.

“I am running for state Representative to tackle the top issues facing District 44 — school overcrowding, roads, housing affordability, job and career training, and the protection of our environment and water bodies,” he stated. “I know how to address these issues, because I work on many of them every day. I am prepared on day one to lead and achieve real results on these issues and more for the good people of District 44.”

HD 44 covers southwestern Orange County, from southern Winter Garden and Ocoee down through the tourism corridor to include Walt Disney World. Republicans have a slight voter registration advantage but the district has been turning purple. Thompson won it in 2018, unseating Republican state Rep. Bobby Olszewski, who also reportedly is mulling getting into the contest.

Written By

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 scott@floridapolitics.com.

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