Danny Alvarez challenges Andrew Learned in new east Hillsborough district
Alvarez denies Andrew Learned a second term.

andrew learned Alvarez
The race will likely be a tight one.

First-term Democratic Rep. Andrew Learned is in for a tough race against challenger Danny Alvarez, as the pair compete for the new House District 69.

The new district closely resembles that of former House District 57, which is represented by Republican Rep. Mike Beltran. But instead of competing with Alvarez for the GOP nomination, Beltran opted to relocate and run for HD 70 instead.

That left Alvarez to fight against another incumbent in Learned, who represents House District 59 — which was, before redistricting, a light blue sliver encompassing Brandon.

Now, Learned is fighting to retain his spot in the Legislature in a district that extends beyond Brandon to include East Hillsborough County into the communities of Riverview, Boyette and Lithia, which have a light red hue. If Learned wins, it’ll likely be by the skin of his teeth.

Learned, a Navy veteran who owns a small business, benefits from incumbency and hefty fundraising, as well as a strong record on veteran issues. Alvarez, an Army veteran and Tampa-based lawyer, has the upper hand in voter registration and backing from law enforcement. HD 69 has 2,700 more Republicans (40,295) than Democrats (38,493).

But to take the seat, the candidates will need to appeal to the district’s 36,404 nonpartisan voters. If 2020 can tell us anything, it’s that the nonpartisan bloc may lean red, with 50% of the district going to Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election, and 48% going to President Joe Biden.

The pair both understand how tight the district is, emptying their respective pockets ahead of Election Day.

Learned has amassed a total of $679,194 between his campaign and affiliated political committee, Serve Florida. Less than two weeks before the election, he has only $54,463 cash on hand. Nearly $200,000 of Learned’s campaign funds have been spent in the last three finance periods, spanning from Sept. 10 through Oct. 22.

Alvarez, on the other hand, has collected a total of $258,823, and has only $29,875 left in the bank two weeks out. The Republican candidate also spent big in the last three recent periods, dishing out nearly $185,000 in that timeframe.

The candidates’ respective parties have also been pouring support into their campaigns via in-kind donations. Learned has received nearly $50,000 worth of services from the Florida Democratic Party, while Alvarez has received $58,162 worth of support.

Alvarez has also picked up support from House leadership, earning an endorsement from House Speaker-designate Paul Renner, as well as law enforcement backing from Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister and the Tampa Police Benevolent Association.

Learned, on the other hand, has earned support from several unions, veteran organizations like VoteVets, the Tampa Bay Times as well as Democratic Party leadership.

The results of Learned’s and Alvarez’s efforts will be showcased on Nov. 8.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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