Rematches on the horizon in three Seminole Co. House districts
Bob Cortes is leaning heavily on his bipartisan appeal.

Joy Goff-Marcil and Bob Cortes
One for sure: Joy Goff-Marcil and Bob Cortes battle again.

If not for primaries, three rematches could be in the works for Florida House of Representatives elections in Seminole County in districts decided by close elections in 2018.

The rematches are possible, but Democrat Pasha Baker and Republican Luke Dowe hope to prevent a couple of them.

A rematch was officially scheduled Friday in House District 30. There, Democratic Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil of Maitland and Republican former Rep. Bob Cortes of Altamonte Springs will  go another round in the November election.

Both qualified and no one entered the race as a last-minute filer in HD 30 before Friday’s qualifying deadline. That means neither has to worry about a primary in what is expected to be a major battle for the purple swing district straddling central and parts of western Orange and Seminole counties that has repeatedly flipped between Republicans and Democrats over the past decade.

In 2018 Goff-Marcil upset Cortes by a vote of 53% to 47%. It was the third time in four elections that the seat had flipped from one party to the other.

Cortes broke fast from the gate in his first month of campaign fundraising, raising $50,000 in May. Most of it came from current and former Republican lawmakers or their political committees.

Twenty-six of them gave him $1,000 checks in May, and another five sent him $500 campaign contributions to help him in his quest to return.

Goff-Marcil raised less than $2,000 in May and has attracted less than $23,000 overall in the 10 months she has been campaigning for reelection to a second term to represent people of north-central Orange County and southwestern Seminole County.

In the other two House districts in Seminole County, primaries will determine whether or not there are rematches.

Republican Rep. David Smith of Winter Springs drew a bye into the November election for his House District 28 seat when he attracted no primary challengers. So he’ll await the winner of the Aug. 18 Democratic primary between Baker of Sanford and Lee Mangold of Casselberry, for the HD 28 seat, representing most of eastern Seminole.

In 2018 Smith defeated Mangold 51% to 49% to win what that year was an open seat.

In House District 29, representing much of central Seminole County, Republican Rep. Scott Plakon wasn’t as lucky as Smith was on Friday.

Plakon, of Lake Mary, drew a Republican primary opponent. Dowe of Longwood, who filed in January, qualified for the ballot Friday, setting up an Aug. 18 Republican primary.

The winner will face Democrat Tracey Kagan of Longwood, who is seeking a rematch with Plakon after the Republican won reelection in 2018 by a 51% to 49% vote.

Scott Powers

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 [email protected].


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