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David Smith adds $38K to his HD 28 reelection bid

In Central Florida, only David Smith, Bruno Portigliatti raised much in House campaigns

Republican state Rep. David Smith added $38,055 to his campaign coffers in August, bolstering his reelection effort in Florida House District 28.

Smith’s haul was the second biggest among Florida House of Representatives candidates in Central Florida to only Bruno Portigliatti, who opened his House District 44 bid by attracting $51,860 for his campaign. Otherwise, none of the other dozens of Central Florida House candidates had even a $10,000 month in August.

Smith’s campaign now has raised $106,083, and he has kicked in another $25,000 of his own money. So the campaign ended August with a little over $97,000 in the bank.

His opponent Democrat Lee Mangold picked up just $860 in August, and entered September with about $7,500 in the bank.

Smith’s campaign picked up 21 maximum-donation $1,000 checks in August, including two from firefighter union political action committees, two from lobbyist Ron Book‘s interests, and one each from the Central Florida Hospitality and Lodging Association, the Apartment PAC, and Friends of Jason Brodeur, the committee for the man who represented HD 28 before Smith won the seat in 2018.

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HD 28 covers northeastern Seminole County.

Elsewhere in Central Florida’s competitive races:

— Webster Barnaby of Deltona picked up $3,600 and DeBary City Commissioner Erika Benfield collected $2,025 in their battle for the Republican  nomination in the southern Volusia County House District 27 being opened because Republican state Rep. David Santiago of Deltona is term-limited. Barnaby now has just over $53,000 in the bank, and Benfield, $55,000.

A third Republican in that race, Zenaida Denizac of Deltona raised no money in August and entered September with about $16,000 in the bank.

Democrat Carol Lawrence of Deltona just entered the HD 27 in August, seeding her campaign with a $1,000 personal check.

In House District 31 in northeastern Lake County and northwestern Orange County, Republican state Rep. Jennifer Sullivan‘s campaign accepted $1,000 in August. Sullivan, of Mount Dora, reported $31,800 in the bank.

Democratic opponent Debra Kaplan of Eustis collected $575 in donations and entered September with just over $2,000 in hand.

— In House District 32 covering central and western Lake, the reelection campaign of Republican state Rep. Anthony Sabatini of Howey in the Hills received six $1,000 checks from various optometric political groups. With that, he had about $7,000 in the bank at the start of September.

Democratic opponent Ryan Morales of Clermont collected just $90 in August and entered September with about $1,700 in the bank.

— In House District 42, Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins continued to be the only Republican among four in the contest to raise any significant money. Hawkins, of St. Cloud, collected $5,500 in August, bringing his campaign’s bank balance to $138,000 by Sept. 1 for his bid in HD 42, which covers all of Osceola except for the northwest region, plus a piece of eastern Polk County. The district is open because Republican state Rep. Mike La Rosa is term-limited.

Republican candidates Dianne Liebnitzky, Zane Matter, both of St. Cloud, and Benny Valentin of Kissimmee collected $130 between them in August. At the endof the month, Liebnitzky had $750 in hand, Matter, $330, and Valentin, nothing.

Democrat Barbara Cady of Kissimmee collected $525 in August and finished the month with about $11,400 in the bank, while Democrat Victor Sims of Kissimmee raised no money in August and entered September with $370 in hand.

In House District 43, representing most of northwestern Osceola, Democrat Alex Barrio is the only candidate of four Democrats doing any campaign fundraising. He picked up $3,047 in August, raising his campaign’s bank account to $13,000.

Carlos Irizarry, Horng “Andrew” Jeng, and Anthony Nieves  have not collected any campaign contributions to date. Irizarry loaned $500 to his campaign a few months ago, and Nieves donated $50 to his campaign in August.

The district is opening because Democratic state Rep. John Cortes is not seeking reelection.

In House District 44, covering southwestern Orange County, Portigliatti’s debut campaign fundraising included $19,000 in checks from himself, his family, and his family’s businesses. Portigliatti, of Orlando, is in what is expected to shape up as a rousing Republican primary battle for a seat that Republicans had controlled until last year.

Reports were not yet posted on the Florida Division of Elections website Tuesday morning for Republican Frank Bruno of Orlando, and Republican Lee Steinhauer Winter Garden only entered the race on Monday.

Incumbent Democratic state Rep. Geraldine Thompson of Orlando picked up $1,250 in August, giving her reelection bid $1,350 in the bank.

— In House District 46, for the central Orange seat being vacated by term-limited Democratic state Rep. Bruce Antone, Travaris McCurdy of Orlando collected $2,594 in August, giving his campaign about $4,400 in the bank. Cynthia Harris of Orlando collected $160 in August, and she’s got $750 in hand.

In House District 49, covering northeastern Orange, Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando did not raise any money in August. He entered September with just $300 in the bank, and now an opponent, Republican Robert Prater of Orlando, who filed to run last week.

— In House District 50 covering eastern Orange and northwestern Brevard County, Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia of Orlando collected $3,000 in August, giving his campaign about $28,000 in hand. His Democratic opponent, Nina Yoakum of Orlando, picked up $2,394, and entered September with about $13,500 in the bank.

In uncontested House campaigns in Central Florida,

— Republican state Rep. Scott Plakon of Longwood added $8,500 to his reelection fund in House District 29 in central Seminole. He entered September with about $31,000 in his campaign coffer.

— Democratic state Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil of Maitland collected the first $1,100 in campaign contributions since she filed for reelection in August in House District 30, covering north Orange and southwestern Lake.

Democratic state Rep. Kamia Brown of Ocoee received $8,500 in August for her reelection bid in House District 45 in western Orange. She entered September with just over $15,000 in campaign money.

Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando collected $4,132 in August, giving her $33,000 for her reelection campaign in House District 47, representing central Orange. She also has an independent political committee, People Power for Florida, but its August reports were not yet posted Tuesday morning.

Democratic state Rep. Amy Mercado of Orlando did not raise any money in August, and she’s got $4,300 in the bank for her reelection effort in House District 48 in southern Orange.

Republican state Rep. Tyler Sirois of Merritt Island received $4,525 in campaign donations in August, and entered September with $9,300 available for his reelection run in House District 51, covering northeastern Brevard.

Republican state Rep. Thad Altman of Indialantic raised $1,500 for his campaign in August. His reelection bid in House District 52 in central Brevard has about $8,800 in the bank.

Republican state Rep. Randy Fine of Palm Bay raised $4,700 for his reelection bid in House District 53 in southern Brevard. His campaign has $100,000 available.

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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