Carlos Guillermo Smith endorses Rishi Bagga in critical HD 35 race

Bagga copy
The Senate candidate also supported Bagga's run in the district last year.

One of Central Florida’s most prominent progressives is making clear who he wants carrying the Democratic banner in a critical Special Election.

Former Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith is endorsing lawyer Rishi Bagga for the open House District 35 seat.

“I endorsed Rishi Bagga as an early supporter of his 2022 campaign, and am excited to endorse him once again,” said Smith, an Orlando Democrat.

“Rishi’s remarkable journey, from his family’s hard work at a small motel to his dedicated legal career and community leadership, is a testament to his perseverance and character. His connection to the working class and his commitment to Democratic ideals make him the right choice to represent the values of our Central Florida community and to take on GOP extremism in Tallahassee.”

Bagga hopes the support from Smith, now a Senate candidate, will be the first of several major Democratic endorsements his campaign announces in coming weeks. The Democratic Primary for the HD 35 Special Election is scheduled for Nov. 7.

“Right now, Carlos is our biggest (endorsement) and we are thrilled to have it,” Bagga said. “He has been such a passionate, strong leader for the Central Florida community. He has been wonderful. He was a big supporter of ours last year and now this year. It emphasizes and solidifies the trust he has in our campaign.”

Bagga last year won the Democratic nomination in HD 35 and ultimately lost to incumbent Rep. Fred Hawkins, a St. Cloud Republican. But Hawkins has since resigned from the seat to become President of South Florida State College. Bagga has filed to run for the seat again.

The seat represents a pickup opportunity for Democrats this year. Hawkins won the district last year by 10 percentage points, as Republicans overperformed statewide. Smith notably lost his own re-election bid in a neighboring swing seat.

But Democratic President Joe Biden won the district in 2020. That has both parties eyeing the Special Election.

Bagga won the 2022 Democratic nomination by just 57 votes over businessman Tom Keen, but hopes his work as a General Election candidate earned the trust of voters and leaders. Keen is also running again, as is Latino Leadership executive director Marucci Guzmán.

“We were the party’s nominee last year and people have seen what we are capable of,” Bagga said.

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].


  • AngliaThomas

    September 15, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    All we require for employment is a dependable smart phone, an Internet connection, and a responsible individual. For all students, regardless of age, whether they are currently enrolled in school, have recently graduated, or are jobless.

    Open It>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


  • nail

    September 15, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    We need more good Dems because everyone of the MAGAts that supported the authoritarian DeSantis are going to go down with him in a trump style investigation…the financial affairs are getting a very deep dive since they allowed DeSantis to hide all investigations of financials…A sure sign that they all know what he is doing…..
    Every subpoena ws answered because they did not want their criminal friends to know they re speaking to he DOJ. Rats ratting out Rats in corrupt FL, who would have guessed..there are going to be a lot of empty seats when the DOJ Gand Jury gets through with them…
    Fl is going blue in 2024….


  • Sonja Fitch

    September 16, 2023 at 4:28 am

    Keep on keeping on! Common Good is demonstrated by actions of candidate and ideals in sharing!


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