Sanford community activist and entrepreneur Pasha Baker won the House District 28 Democratic primary Tuesday, setting up a match with Republican Rep. David Smith in the Seminole County district.
Baker, who runs non-profit groups in Sanford, topped Casselberry cybersecurity businessman Lee Mangold by less than 1% of the vote Tuesday, winning by 109 votes out of more than 13,000 cast in the district. That’s over the .05% threshold mandating a recount, but below 1%
In another Seminole County primary for a Florida House sprat, Republican Rep. Scott Plakon easily defeated Luther Dowe of Longwood, 83-17. That cements a rematch with Democratic challenger Tracey Kagan of Longwood in Florida’s House District 29. Plakon defeated her in 2018. There also is an independent candidate, Juan Rodríguez.
Meanwhile, the contest in House District 30 is already set. Democratic Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil and Republican former Rep. Bob Cortes did not have primaries in House District 30. So the rematch for their 2018 contest, won previously by Goff-Marcil, has been set since qualifying closed in June.
Baker’s defeat of Mangold assured there would be at least one new matchup in Seminole County’s House races. Mangold had run in 2018, losing to Smith.
Also in the November election in HD 28: independent candidate Michael Riccio.
All three 2018 elections were close. When Smith beat Mangold 51%-49% in HD 28, Plakon defeated Kagan 51%-49% in HD 29, and Goff-Marcil ousted Cortes 53%-47% in HD 30.
All three of the districts have close splits between Republican and Democratic registered voters. Goff-Marcil enjoys an advantage of almost 8 points for Democrats in HD 30, while Plakon’s advantage is closer to 3 points for Republicans in HD 29, and Smith’s is closer to 2 points for Republicans in HD 28.
All three contests are expected to be hotly-contested.
Baker, 39, is director and chief executive officer of her family’s nonprofit business, The Goldsboro West Side Community Historical Association, which, among other things, manages several Sanford-area museums, cultural arts centers, and galleries. In that role she also crafts policies and legislation on behalf of the 40-museum Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network, and collaborates with state and federal agencies and small businesses, she said.