Republican Alex Newman has withdrawn from the race for House District 28, clearing the way for Rep. Tom Leek to win election in the Central Florida district.
According to Florida Division of Elections records, the Ormond Beach Republican submitted a letter of withdrawal on Wednesday.
“I, Alex Newman, am hereby withdrawing from the race for Florida House District 28 in the 2022 election cycle, effective immediately, if it is still possible to remove my name from the ballot,” the letter reads.
Newman officially entered the race in May, though his campaign started raising money and sending communications to voters and potential donors about a week prior, which is illegal under Florida elections law.
In total, Newman raised $3,875 before he filed paperwork with the Division of Elections. He also began spending campaign funds before entering the race. According to state law, spending money before filing the necessary paperwork to run for office is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
On June 13, the Division of Elections sent Newman an audit letter questioning the early contributions and expenditure. The campaign has not yet responded to the letter.
Newman’s exit from the race leaves Leek as the only Republican seeking the seat, which covers a portion of Volusia County that overlaps with the current HD 25, which Leek has represented since he was first elected to the House in 2016.
HD 28 is expected to perform Republican in November and Leek is considered the frontrunner in the Primary, having recently secured endorsements from House Speaker-designate Paul Renner and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Heading into June, Leek had about $56,000 banked in his campaign account and another $1 million in his affiliated political committee, Living Life With Purpose. He will face Democrat John Navarra in the General Election. Navarra, of Daytona Beach, had about $1,200 in his campaign account on May 31.