6 Democrats to vie for Amy Mercado’s HD 48 seat

Discours Tribune
Qualifying day was eventful in central Florida.

A mad rush Democratic primary is on for the Florida House District 48 seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Amy Mercado as six Democrats qualified for the Aug. 18 party election.

The winner will face Republican Jesus Martinez, a real estate broker, a minister and TV- radio personality for the Hispanic community.

With the close of qualifying Friday, former Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Daisy Morales, Nelson Pena, Julio Rocha, Alex Taylor, Tony Tsonis, and Samuel Vilchez Santiago all qualified for the primary election for the district covering parts of central, eastern, and southern Orange County.

All are from Orlando.

That makes for the most crowded primary election coming up in Orange County, but not the only one.

Two Orange County House District races were decided by default Friday when challengers either did not appear or dropped away without qualifying. Consequently, Democratic Rep. Kamia Brown of Ocoee won reelection in HD 45 in northwestern Orange, and Travaris McCurdy of Orlando was elected to an open seat in HD 46 in west-central Orange.

Two Florida House elections in Orange County will bypass the primaries and focus on November.

Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando and Republican Robert Prater of Orlando, an educator, are set for a general election showdown in House District 49, representing northeastern Orange.

Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia of Orlando and Democrat Nina Yoakum of Orlando, who like Plasencia is a former teacher, are set to battle for House District 50, covering parts of eastern Orange and northwestern Brevard County.

In another northeastern Orange district, House District 31, which also serves northeastern Lake County, two Republicans and two Democrats qualified for primaries. The seat is being vacated by Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan.

Republicans Keith Truenow of Tavares and Stevan Novakovic of Sorento, both with agriculture backgrounds, will square off in the HD 31 Republican primary.

Journalist and consultant Debra Kaplan of Eustis and book store proprietor Crissy Stile of Mount Dora will battle in the HD 31 Democratic primary.

Democratic Rep. Geraldine Thompson of Orlando drew a late-entry primary challenger in Florida House District 44 in southwestern Orange County when Andy Farrell of Orlando filed this week and qualified on Friday.

The Republican field in HD 44, once looking crowded, has narrowed to two — businessman and college executive Bruno Portigliatti of Orlando and lawyer Frank Blanco of Orlando.

Two Republicans, real estate broker Jeremy Sisson and lawyer Kevin Morenski, both of Orlando, qualified for a primary battle in House District 47, representing much of central Orange including downtown Orlando.

The winner faces Democratic Rep. Anna V. Eskamani of Orlando in November.

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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