Sen. Geri Thompson, D-Orlando, represents a very heavily Democratic district in Central Florida but she has drawn two Republican opponents who are looking to topple her in 2014 and one of them outraised her in the second quarter of 2013.
A veteran legislator, Thompson moved up from the Florida House to the Florida Senate in 2012, defeating Victoria Siplin in the Democratic primary and Republican candidate Fritz Jackson Seide in the general election. Thompsons district, which contains parts of Orange County, is strongly Democratic with 52 percent of the voters registered in that party with only 26 percent as Republicans.
Despite the heavy Democratic lean in the district, Republican candidate Edward DeAguilera, who entered the contest at the end of May, outraised Thompson in the second quarter of 2013. During that time, DeAguilera reeled in $5,635 and spent almost $285. While she was prohibited from raising funds when the Legislature was in session in April and early May, Thompson brought in only $2,020 during the second quarter of 2013, leaving her with around $20,500 in the bank.
Born and raised in Central Florida, DeAguilera runs the Sandra DeAguilera Project which helps raise funds for organizations helping women and children. The project was named after his sister who died, possibly from abuse, while pregnant.
My passion is the organization I created in honor of my sister, DeAguilera told Sunshine State News this week.
A first-time candidate, DeAguilera said his longtime roots in the district are why he is running. I believe this district is a little underserved in certain areas, he said. Calling himself a consensus builder who can bring common-sense solutions to Tallahassee, DeAguilera said his longtome activism in the community will help him represent it and boost his grassroots campaign.
The director of development and community partnerships of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida, DeAguilera is also well-known in the community for his work with the Hispanic Health Initiative Fund which helps women with breast cancer. DeAguilera said he planned to focus on economic development, job creation, entrepreneurship and education as he continues his campaign.
Republican leaders in Orange County told Sunshine State News they were impressed with DeAguilera and wished him well, but noted that they were more concerned with two other legislative races in the area they believe are much more winnable -- namely trying to defeat Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, D-Maitland, and Rep. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando.
DeAguilera insisted he had a chance. This community, since its redistriciting, is different than what everyone thinks it is, he told Sunshine State News, noting that it included parts of Winter Gardens and Winter Park.
In the meantime, DeAguilera continues to work the grassroots as he looks to challenge Thompson. Weve been hitting the ground running, he said.
DeAguilera faces a primary opponent in Fritz Jackson Seide, an accountant and real estate broker who filed to enter the race as a Republican in January. In the 2012 election, Thompson trounced Seide taking 69 percent of the vote.
Seide has done little in the way of fundraising since entering the race in January. Since entering the contest on Jan. 25, Seide has brought in $75, all ofwhich he has kept on hand.
Sunshine State News called Seides office on Wednesday and Thursday and left messages but calls were not returned. Staff in Seide's office informed Sunshine State News that he was out of town.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 904-521-3722.