Mike Zhao opens HD 50 campaign with $114K, including $50K in self-funding

Yukong Zhao, Mike Zhao
Zhao, a national Asian-American rights activist, draws heavily from across the country.

Republican Yukong “Mike” Zhao opened his campaign for the open seat in House District 50 with a $114,000 first-month post to his campaign fund, including $64,000 he raised from more than 420 individual donors.

Zhao is an Orlando businessman and a national activist for Asian American rights. His opening list of supporters suggest his campaign has tapped his national base, according to October campaign finance reports filed Wednesday with the Florida Division of Elections.

He’s running for a district that, as currently drawn, covers much of southern and eastern Orange County and northwestern Brevard County. It now stretches from the Lake Nona neighborhoods of Orlando to Titusville and Mims. Incumbent Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia is running for the Senate instead of reelection.

With the seat opening, Zhao is one of four Republicans vying, along with union organizer Angel Perry of Orlando, Canaveral Port Authority Board Member Robyn Hattaway of Merritt Island, and lawyer Christopher Wright of Orlando.

No Democrats have entered the HD 50 field yet, though the district’s voter registration split is pretty even.

None of the other Republican candidates had much of a fundraising effort in October. So Zhao is starting his run with more than four times as much campaign money as any of them.

“As a successful businessman, Zhao also contributed $50,000 to his campaign showing his commitment to the effort,” his campaign stated in a news release issued Wednesday. “With his outstanding qualifications, conservative leadership, successful business experience, and an impressive showing of grassroot support, Mike Zhao has positioned himself as a clear leader in the HD 50 race!”

Zhao, who last year ran for Congress in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, losing in the Republican Primary Election, loaned $50,010 of his own money to his House campaign.

After that, he received 440 other donations in October, including 16 maximum $1,000 checks.

More than 370 of his contributions came from out of state, accounting for $50,500 of the $64,236 in donations he received. That included 102 contributions totaling $17,571 from California, 42 contributions totaling $4,885 from New Jersey, 22 contributions amounting to $4,090 from New York, and 32 contributions for $3,033 from Massachusetts.

Not including his own money, he received 62 contributions totaling $13,729 from supporters in Florida.

His campaign spent $2,700 and enters November with about $111,500 in the bank.

Hattaway reported raising $1,625 in October, bringing her fundraising total to $25,200. She entered November with about $24,000 in the bank.

Perry did not raise any money in October. She has raised $4,485 overall and entered November with $ 3,300 in the bank.

Wright picked up $50 in October and has raised $685 overall. He has not spent any of it.

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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