Bill Olson switching from congressional run to HD 51

Bill Olson 2 (1)
The move sets up Republican Primary battle with incumbent Rep. Josie Tomkow.

Republican Bill Olson is dropping his bid for Florida’s 9th Congressional District and will file to run for the state House District 51 seat in Polk County, he said Wednesday.

Olson would be challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Josie Tomkow of Polk City.

Redistricting essentially drew Olson out of CD 9. The new maps — including the one approved in Special Session last month then rejected by a Circuit Court judge, as well as the replacement map pushed by the judge — redraw CD 9 to lose its old representation of eastern Polk. The maps replace eastern Polk with more of Orange County. Court appeals will sort out which map applies.

Olson is an Army veteran, a security guard, and a substitute teacher from Davenport.

“I live in northern Polk County. That is where my friends and neighbors live. This is the location of the new 51st House District,” Olson said in a text. “I am a substitute school teacher in that area. I decided it would be best to serve in a more local role.”

HD 51 covers much of eastern and northern Polk, including Davenport, Haines City, Polk City, the Four Corners area, and parts of Lake Alfred and Auburndale. It has a solid Republican lean, based on results of the past couple of elections.

At this point, Tomkow is the only filed candidate.

Olson also noted the CD 9 he is leaving will be a much more of a Democratic-leaning district than the one he ran in.

Olson ran in CD 9 in 2020, losing to Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, 56% to 44%.

For the 2022 Republican Primary Election in CD 9, Olson now endorses Jose Castillo of Kissimmee, whom Olson defeated in the 2020 Republican Primary Election.

“Jose is a smart gentleman. He has an MBA from Tulane University. Jose and I have similar values. He is a commonsense conservative,” Olson wrote.

“Lastly, Jose was very helpful during my 2020 General Election campaign against Congressman Soto. Even though I defeated him in the Primary, he was a standup guy and helped out however possible during the General Election,” Olson added. “I am loyal to my friends, as is he.”

Also in the CD 9 Republican Primary Election are Marlin Daniel AnthonyScotty Moore, Sergio Ortiz and several others.

Olson raised more than $147,000 for his congressional campaign but had just $27,000 left in the bank at the end of the first quarter of 2022.

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].

One comment

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