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Lauren Melo


Florida Realtors PAC backs Lauren Melo in HD 80 contest

The Republican serves as president of the Naples Area Board of Realtors.

Florida Realtors look eager for one of their more active members to move into the Florida House.

The Florida Realtors PAC on Thursday endorsed Lauren Melo, president of the Naples Area Board of Realtors, for House District 80.

“Her years of experience as a Realtor have given her a deep understanding of the neighborhoods in her area, and her passion to serve others is evident in the many leadership positions she has held within her community,” said Tim Weisheyer, chair of Florida Realtors PAC trustees. “She will be an outstanding representative for her district.”

The Naples Republican has held board positions both with the state organization and with the National Association of Realtors.

As the political arm for the state’s largest professional trade association, Florida Realtors PAC remains one of the most powerful lobbies in Florida politics. The organization has put its resources behind both Republicans and Democrats in the past.

Melo announced in February she would run to succeed Rep. Byron Donalds, who is running for an open seat in Congress. Donalds had planned to seek a third term until U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney announced he would retire.

Melo, until last week, looked like she might win the seat without opposition. But both Republican Victor Dotres and Democrat Laura Novosad filed in recent days.

Dotres, a long-time educator in the area, faces Melo in an August primary. Novosad, a Hendry County real estate agent, will face the GOP nominee in November.

Melo’s early entry into the race gives her a financial foundation for the campaign. She raised $61,464 for the race, most of it well before the COVID-19 pandemic ground most fundraising in the state to a near halt.

The district itself leans heavily Republican. Donalds previously won reelection there over Democrat Jennifer Boddicker with more than 62% of the vote.

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

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