Fred Hawkins pours $38K into his re-election bid in HD 35
Fred Hawkins is the big man in the Osceola legislative delegation.

Fred Hawkins Jr.
Hawkins is now running in a district that includes a large swath of Orange County.

Redistricting may have done no favors for Republican Rep. Fred Hawkins, but the veteran elected official showed in April he still has strong financial backing, raising $38,525 for a re-election bid in House District 35.

Hawkins, a former longtime Osceola County Commissioner from St. Cloud, was elected two years ago in the old House District 42, which combined most of his old Osceola County Commission constituency with portions of rural, Republican-friendly eastern Polk County.

With redistricting, he now finds himself in HD 35, which drops Polk and the more populous portions of his Osceola areas, and adds in southern and eastern sprawl of Orange County. That created a district with most of the population unfamiliar with him, and which is likely to have a moderate Democratic lean, based on results of the past couple of General Elections.

Still, Hawkins has plenty of campaigning experience. And none of the other five candidates in HD 35, Democrats and Republicans, have shown much ability to raise campaign money like Hawkins yet this year, particularly in April.

In two other Osceola County-based districts, House Districts 46 and 47, Democrats posted modest or non-existent April fundraising efforts. Yet both of those districts now have a strong Democratic lean.

Democratic Rep. Kristen Arrington has only an independent opponent in HD 46. The district covers most of western Osceola, including parts of Kissimmee and Poinciana.

Democrats Daniel Paul Marquita and Anthony Nieves face brand-new Republican candidate Paula Stark in HD 47, covering north-central Osceola, including most of Kissimmee and of St. Cloud.

For HD 35, Hawkins’ official campaign account now has raised $195,325, and the fund entered May with about $115,000 in the bank. He also has an independent political committee, Floridians for Responsive Economic Development, which picked up $4,500 in April, mostly from the Hammerstone company of Windermere. The committee entered May with about $17,000 in the bank.

Democrat Tom Keen of Orlando reported raising $4,230 in April. His campaign thus far has brought in about $17,000 but he had only $5,000 cash on hand at the start of May.

Democrat Rishi Singh Bagga of Orlando reported raising $3,272. He has now raised $21,866, and entered May with about $14,000 in the bank.

Republican Dianna Liebnitzky of St. Cloud raised her first $525 in donations, to go along with the $100 she lent her campaign to start in March. She still had all of that left on May 1.

Republican Kevin Davenport of Orlando reported raising $432 in April. He had raised $3,900 overall, and had nearly all of it left at the start of May.

Democrat Tahitiana Alejandra Chaffin of St. Cloud reported raising $250. She has raised $730, and had less than $600 in hand on May 1.

In HD 46, Arrington, of Kissimmee, reported raising $1,700 in April for her official campaign. She has raised $83,100 through that account so far, and still had $62,000 in the bank on May 1. She also has an independent political committee, Friends of Arringtons, which collected $20,000 in April from Parramore Development and Construction of Maitland. The committee ended the month with about $48,000 in the bank.

Independent candidate Ivan Rivera of Kissimmee had $50 in a campaign account.

In HD 47, Marquita, of Saint Cloud, reported raising $8,550 in April. That brought his total raised to about $18,550, and he had not spent any of it by the end of April.

Nieves did not raise any money in April. His campaign had raised $533 overall, but that was all gone by the end of April.

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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