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Andrew Learned raises $21,000 in first month of HD 59 bid

Learned spent most of his first month overseas.

Andrew Learned raised nearly $21,000 in his first month as a candidate for the House of Representatives, he announced Tuesday.

Learned is running for House District 59 to replace Rep. Adam Hattersley who is running for Congress. 

Three other candidates in the race have not announced August fundraising totals and numbers are not yet available in Florida Division of Elections public data, but Learned’s earnings are significant. He spent most of August overseas serving in the military and was unable to actively fundraise during that time. 

Learned is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He was in Tajikistan as a representative of the U.S. Special Forces Command Central’s reserve unit during much of August. 

Learned had been running for Congress in an attempt to oust U.S. Rep. Ross Spano before swapping races with Hattersley at the end of July.  

Learned has served 10-years in the Navy and has deployed to the Middle East three times during his career.

House District 59 is one of the tightest races for Florida Democrats in 2020. The Democratic House Victory committee lists it as one of their priority races for the cycle.

Hattersley picked up the historically conservative seat for Democrats in 2018 after Spano, who previously represented the district, left to successfully run for Congress. 

Learned ran in the Democratic primary in Spano’s Congressional District 15 last year. He raised $336,000 in that campaign.

Learned is one of two Democrats filed for the House District 59 race. The other Democrat, Mark Stephan Oliver, filed Sept. 6 and has only just begun to raise funds. 

Two Republicans are running including Michael Owen and Melissa Haskins. As of the end of July, Owen raised nearly $50,000 while Haskins had raised less than $9,000.

House District 59 represents east Hillsborough County including Brandon, Bloomingdale, Riverview, Valrico and Progress Village. It’s not the only Tampa Bay area district where a Democrat who picked up a seat in 2018 is leaving to run for Congress.

Margaret Good is leaving House District 72 in Sarasota to run in Vern Buchanan‘s congressional district. 

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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