Fred Hawkins picks up Ron DeSantis’ endorsement for re-election in HD 35
Despite an arrest, Fred Hawkins wins his race for

DeSantis' endorsement boosts Hawkins, seeking re-election after redistricting made his race tougher.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has given his endorsement to Republican Rep. Fred Hawkins, who’s seeking re-election in a newly drawn district representing parts of Osceola and Orange counties.

Hawkins, a longtime Osceola County Commissioner before being elected in the old House District 42 two years ago, faces some challenges for a second term. His old district was replaced with one where the population base has largely shifted to Orange County, and the voting electorate has tilted toward Democratic.

He’s in an August 23 Primary Election contest with two other Republicans, while three Democrats have filed. The district covers nearly all of the rural areas and none of the populated areas of Osceola, along with both the rural and suburban sprawl areas of Orange from Lake Nona and Waterford Lakes to Bithlo, Christmas and the Brevard County line.

DeSantis offered Hawkins a boost Monday by tweeting out an endorsement:

“(Fred Hawkins) works hard for central Florida in the legislature. I’m proud to work with him in Tallahassee to get things done for Florida. I’m excited to fight alongside him this November.”

Hawkins, of St. Cloud, responded with a statement reading, “I am honored to receive the support and endorsement of Gov. Ron DeSantis and look forward to continuing to work for Central Florida in Tallahassee.”

Hawkins was one of three Representatives to get endorsements from DeSantis in the past couple of days, along with Republican Rep. Paul Renner of Palm Coast, who’s in line to become Speaker in 2023; and Republican Rep. Tom Leek of Ormond Beach.

In HD 35, Hawkins faces challenges from Kenneth Davenport of Orlando and Dianna Liebnitzky of St. Cloud. Democrats running there include Rishi Singh Bagga of Orlando, Tahitiana Alejandra Chaffin of St. Cloud and Tom Keen of Orlando.

Hawkins has raised $195,325 for his re-election bid and at the start of May his campaign had about $115,000 in the bank. That’s well ahead of any of the other candidates. Bagga is next, having raised about $22,000, while holding $14,000 in cash.

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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