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Roger Lolly
Roger Lolly makes the ballot by petition.

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Roger Lolly surpasses petition threshold to qualify for ballot in HD 78

Fort Myers philanthropist can save his money for heated GOP primary.

Fort Myers Republican Roger Lolly has already submitted enough petitions to qualify as a state House candidate.

Running to succeed Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen in House District 78, the owner and president of the If I Can Dream Foundation and of AllCare National has submitted more than 1,300 signed petitions.

“We began this petition drive by hitting the pavement and spreading our Conservative message to the doorsteps of voters across House District 78,” Lolly said.

Like many campaigns, Lolly’s organizing efforts were impacted by social distancing guidelines that made the normal petition gathering process more difficult. But ultimately, the campaign passed the required threshold and put a cushion of extra signatures to account for any rejected petitions.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our campaign did its part by suspending all grassroots campaigning,” Lolly said.

“This has made collecting petitions extremely difficult. Our campaign, like all Floridians, came together while being apart to make this goal happen. The outpouring of support has been nothing short of amazing, and our campaign has submitted over 1,300 candidate petitions, well over the 1,074 needed to qualify.”

The goal was reached weeks ahead of the May 11 deadline for statehouse candidates.

Lolly through March has raised more than $46,000 in outside contributions on top of a substantial personal investment. As of the start of April, Lolly had $162,076 in cash on hand.

That puts him on almost exact cash footing with Republican primary opponent Jenna Persons, who closed the quarter with $167,608 in the bank.

Consultant Charlie Lynch, who joined the race more recently, had $2,410 cash in hand at the end of March. The winner of the primary will face Democrat Shawn Michael Williams.

Qualifying by petition avoids campaigns a cost of $1,782.

But more important than that, Lolly said the ability to gather enough petitions even in the face of a pandemic shows the strong foundation from which to build a winning campaign.

“Our message is resonating, and the people of House District 78 have spoken,” Lolly said.

“They want a Pro-Trump, Conservative business leader to help get our state and country healthy and back to work. Our campaign is just getting started and I look forward to continuing the momentum that we and the people of House District 78 have built.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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