Dennis Cooley holds $100K cash for bid in proposed HD 70

Dennis Cooley
The Ellenton entrepreneur is the first Republican to file for the open seat.

Ellenton Republican Dennis Cooley has $50,000 in the bank as he runs for an open seat in the Florida House. The Bradenton native intends to run in proposed House District 70 on a new map expected to clear the Legislature this week.

The entrepreneur now holds more than $100,000 cash on hand for the race.

“My message of keeping Florida free is resonating,” Cooley said. “Gov. (Ron) DeSantis and legislative leaders have kept our economy open and, as a result, Florida is the economic envy of the nation. I intend to keep it that way and am humbled by the quick outpouring of support from my friends and neighbors for the campaign.”

As drawn on the most recent cartography, HD 70 will encompass portions of southeast Hillsborough and northeast Manatee counties.

Cooley stressed his connections to the Manatee County portion of the district, from growing up at the Boys & Girls Club in East Bradenton to founding a payroll software company in Manatee in 2000. Cooley today works in business insurance.

He’s also a graduate of Leadership Manatee and serves on the Hundred Club of Manatee, which supports local law enforcement agencies.

A pilot and a married father of four, he earned a degree from Coastal Carolina University’s College of Business Administration in South Carolina.

It’s unclear who Cooley may face for the open seat. The Division of Elections shows multiple Democrats filed for that district number, but all are based in St. Petersburg, which sat in HD 70 before new district numbers were introduced. When maps get finalized, it’s expected all of those candidates will end up running in proposed House District 62 instead, leaving Cooley the only candidate in the new HD 70.

But an open seat in the region will likely garner attention. The seat as drafted reaches south to the Manatee River and north to include Apollo Beach and Sun City Center, running from the Tampa Bay shore to the east as far as Parrish in Manatee County and Wimauma in Hillsborough.

An analysis of partisan performance of new districts by MCI Maps shows 54.29% of voters in the proposed HD 70 supported Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • politics

    February 2, 2022 at 4:41 am

    it all seems nice for the next guy but like a couple a suits for myself of violations against me and it ranges

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