Rishi Bagga raises $36K in first 3 weeks of HD 35 campaign
Risha Bagga, courtesy Bagga campaign.

Rishi Bagga
The Democrat won the nomination for the district last year.

Lawyer Rishi Bagga raised $36,000 in the first weeks of launching his latest campaign in House District 35.

“The financial support my campaign has received in just three weeks is nothing short of inspirational,” Bagga said. “Our fundraising momentum shows that the people of District 35 are ready for principled, effective leadership that mirrors the vibrant diversity of our neighborhoods.”

The dollars are rolling in as Bagga runs for the seat for the second time in a year. He narrowly won the Democratic nomination last year over Tom Keen by just 57 votes. But he went on to lose to incumbent Rep. Fred Hawkins, a St. Cloud Republican.

But Hawkins just resigned from the seat early to take a job as President of South Florida State College.

Now Bagga hopes to have a second shot in a Special Election anticipated later this year. He announced in June he would run again. Keen is also running for the seat.

“Central Florida families are fed up with Tallahassee extremists engaging in fake culture wars when we have serious crises to address, like the collapse of Florida’s property insurance market,” he said.

“When I’m elected, I will fight to tackle the real problems facing Floridians with commonsense policy solutions.”

Bagga would be the first Florida lawmaker of South Asian descent in state history. He has told his personal story, of parents immigrating to the U.S. to operate a Central Florida hotel where the family also lived, in appeals to voters. He went on to become a lawyer, working in the State Attorney’s office in Miami-Dade County before becoming a Florida Supreme Court-certified County and Circuit Court mediator.

Bagga also previously served as president of the South Asian Bar Association of North America.

The Special Election could be one of the most important in Florida in 2023, an off-cycle year. While Hawkins won re-election in November by 10 percentage points, a majority of voters in the district in 2020 supported Democrat Joe Biden over Republican Donald Trump in the Presidential Election.

As of book closing for the 2022 elections, the district served as home to 40,746 no-party voters, compared to 40,464 registered Democrats and 37,534 Republicans.

Four Republicans are also running to succeed Hawkins, including Erika Booth, Ken Davenport, Demetries Grimes and Scotty Moore.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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