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Politics

HD 21: Keith Perry Could Face Well-Funded Democrat in November

July 24, 2012 - 6:00pm

As he seeks to win a second term in the Florida House, Rep. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, could be looking at a Democratic opponent with a healthy war chest.

A contractor from Gainesville, Perry won his current House seat, which represents parts of Alachua, Levy and Marion counties, in 2010. In his time in Tallahassee, Perry has quickly moved up the political ladder, becoming part of the Republican leadership as a deputy whip.

But Perry is facing a new district, HD 21, as he looks for a second term. The area he is seeking to represent is farther to the west. While parts of Alachua County are still included in the district, so are all of Dixie and Gilchrist counties -- areas that Perry has never represented.

As he looks to introduce himself to new voters, Perry does not have to worry about the Republican primary as no challengers have stepped up to take him on. So far in this election cycle, Perry has raised more than $123,500 and relied on more than $8,900 through in-kind donations. But he has also spent almost $63,000 so far in the campaign.

Two Democrats are battling it out in the Aug. 14 primary to see who will emerge to challenge Perry in November.

Democratic hopeful Aaron Bosshardt, who owns a real estate business in Gainesville, has assembled an impressive war chest as he looks to take on Perry. As of last Friday, Bosshardt has raised more than $116,000 and relied on more than $7,600 through in-kind donations. Most of what he has raised has stayed in the bank as he has spent less than $38,700 since entering the race back in January.

But Bosshardt does not have an open shot at the Democratic nomination. Attorney Andrew Morey, who has worked in the state attorneys office and is also from Gainesville, is also in the race. Since entering the race in late March, Morey has not been able to keep up with Perry and Bosshardt in the money chase. As of July 6, he has raised almost $13,200, used $2,200 through in-kind donations, and has spent more than $8,000.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will be pitted against Perry in a one-on-one contest. There are no minor party or independent candidates in the race.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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