Apopka Commissioner Doug Bankson has filed to run in the new House District 39, making him the first Republican in the race.
Bankson, who has spent six years on the Apopka City Council including a term as Vice Mayor, is the founder and senior pastor of Victory Church World Outreach Center. He filed Thursday for a district that would be Apopka-centered, as based on the redistricting map approved by the House.
The new HD 39 also includes other parts of northwestern Orange County and western Seminole County, with parts of the cities of Winter Garden, Altamonte Springs and Longwood, plus the agricultural-rich Zellwood area and the parks and nature preserves clustered around Wekiva Springs.
The district, carved from four others, has no incumbents.
Late last week, the first Democrat, Tiffany Hughes of Longwood, entered the HD 39 contest. Hughes is president of the Orange County NAACP.
Bankson said he will be making a formal announcement of his candidacy soon.
In an email to Florida Politics, he said he intends to continue serving as an Apopka Commissioner until the November election.
“It has been a pleasure serving the city of Apopka for the last six years as a Commissioner and Vice Mayor, as well as being a board member and past chairman for the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce since 2004, and I look forward to taking the same passion to serve District 39 in the Florida House,” he wrote. “We are very excited for the opportunity to bring attention to the emerging economic opportunities in NW Orange County, and championing the important issues facing our state as a whole.”
The new HD 39 includes portions of districts now represented by Democratic Reps. Joy Goff-Marcil and Geraldine Thompson, and Republicans Scott Plakon and Keith Truenow. None of them live in the proposed new HD 39 area.
The district is solid purple — about evenly split between voters registered as Democrats, Republicans and independents.