House Seat 66: With Rep. Baxter Troutman, R-Winter Haven, leaving the House, two Republicans and a write-in candidate are battling for this seat representing all of Hardee County and parts of Highlands and Polk counties. Longtime chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission Ben Albritton is a heavy favorite to win the Republican nomination over Chevon Baccus. Albritton raised more than $199,000 and loaned his campaign $15,000. With around $75,000 in the bank, he should defeat Baccus who has spent most of the more than $13,000 in his war chest. Whoever wins the primary should win the seat since they will only face a write-in candidate come November.
House Race 67: Three Republicans, a Democrat and an independent candidate are in the running to replace retiring Speaker Pro Temp Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, to represent parts of Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Attorney and Iraq War veteran Greg Steube leads the Republicans, having raised more than $206,000 with around $92,000 on hand at the end of July. Dr. Bob McCann has posted solid fund-raising numbers, bringing in more than $101,000 in contributions, kicking in $25,000 in loans and spending more than $112,000. But McCann has been hurt by strange claims made in his campaignabout his resume and about being endorsed by Marco Rubio when he wasnt. He has two serious rivals in the primary: businessman Jeremiah Guccione compiled an impressive war chest, raising almost $75,000, adding $50,000 in loans and spending almost $64,000; attorney Z.J. Hafeez is the Democratic candidate and had around $64,000 in the bank at the end of July. Term-limits activist John Studebaker is running in November without party affiliation. While the Republican primary will certainly command attention, this could be one to watch come November.
House Seat 68: With Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, facing term limits, Republican nominee Jim Boyd, with a background in insurance and real estate, appears headed to Tallahassee to represent parts of Hillsborough and Manatee counties. With around $63,000 on hand, Boyd should have no problem with independent candidate Dave Watchdog Miner.
House Seat 69: Republicans would love to take down Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, D-Sarasota, who is one of the sharpest Democrats in the House. Fitzgerald, who represents parts of Manatee and Sarasota counties, will be tough to beat. He raked in more than $113,000 and had more than $101,000 on hand at the end of July. Former Sarasota County Commissioner Ray Pilon is the Republican nominee. With less than $35,000 on hand, Pilon will need to focus on fund-raising to catch the incumbent. Fitzgerald should be considered a solid favorite to return to Tallahassee. Keep in mind, Fitzgerald has been mentioned as a possible running mate for likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink.
House Seat 70: With more than $55,000 in the bank, Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, is a favorite, but not a heavy one, to win another term representing parts of Sarasota County. Former assistant attorney general of Maine, Nancy Feehan, is the Democratic candidate. Feehan loaned her campaign $15,000 and had raised more than $17,000 by the end of July. Holder is ahead but Feehan could make this an interesting race.