David Smith drops $150K on TV in HD 28 contest
David Smith, Pasha Baker have diffeent approaches to the idea of 'public service.'

David Smith and Pasha Baker
Smith faces a potentially tough contest with Democrat Pasha Baker.

Republican Rep. David Smith is putting his big campaign money advantage to use, buying $150,000 worth of TV advertising earlier this month to support his reelection bid in House District 28.

Smith, empowered with one of the most robust campaign finance accounts of any House of Representatives candidate in Florida, spent more than $160,000 in the two-week period ending Sept.18, according to the latest reports posted by the Florida Division of Elections.

Of that, $150,000 is going to television advertising, starting on cable channels and digital platforms such as Hulu and Sling.

Smith also is challenged with one of the most difficult reelection efforts. He faces Democrat Pasha Baker, a businesswoman and a nonprofit executive from Sanford.

Smith has raised more than $398,000 overall for his reelection, including $29,485 in the two-week period that ended Sept. 18. That included 22 maximum $1,000 checks from various companies and political action committees, notably representing utility, medical, beer, and private prison interests.

He also got $18,000 worth of polling and research from the Republican Party of Florida during that two-week period.

On Sept. 18, Smith still had $122,835 in the bank.

Baker raised $3,870 during the latest two-week reporting period, bringing her total raised to $46,813. On Sept. 18 she had $13,486 in the bank.

There also is an independent candidate in the race. Michael Riccio reported raising $850 during the latest reporting period, and hit Sept. 18 with about $3,000 in the bank.

Republicans hold about a 2-point lead in voter registration in HD 28. Smith, a Marines colonel and a business consultant from Winter Springs, barely won in 2018. In the August Democratic primary, Baker ousted Smith’s 2018 opponent, Lee Mangold.

The district covers most of eastern Seminole County and parts of central Seminole, including the cities of Sanford, Winter Springs and Oviedo.

Republicans have held the seat for many years but Democrats believe they have a shot, especially with a charismatic Black businesswoman with deep roots in the community who came close to winning the Sanford mayoral race in 2018 over a two-term incumbent. The district has Seminole County’s largest African American population, largely centered in Sanford, but also significant in the Geneva and Oviedo region.

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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