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Politics

Replacement For Mike Horner Expected on Saturday

September 27, 2012 - 6:00pm

Republican Party executive committee members from Osceola and Polk counties will meet Saturday todetermine who to run on the ballot in a Central Florida district under the name of Mike Horner.

The Republican Party of Florida received 18 applications for the House District 42 seat that has been held by Horner since 2008 before a 10 a.m. deadline on Friday.

From that list, which was not immediately made available, five will be invited to attend private one-on-one at the Omni Hotel in Champions Gate, said Danny Sexton, chairman of the Osceola County Republican executive committee.

Hopefully by noontime well be able to make an announcement, Sexton said.

Sexton, who has seen the entire list, said he is extremely confident from the 18 that there is someone we can agree upon.

The RPOF, which had not responded to requests for comment on Friday, requested the names remain confidential, Sexton said.

Horner, who had been considered a heavy favorite to win a third term and was expected to land a lead committee role after serving the past two years as chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee for transportation and economic development, resigned abruptly on Sept. 24 after his name surfaced on a brothel client list.

Sexton said that one of the qualifications to run was to be able to attend the 9 a.m. interviews at the Omni.

Among names that the Orlando Sentinel has reported as possible replacements include former state representative and current Osceola County Commissioner Frank Attkisson, R-Kissimmee; former county commissioner and former mayor of Kissimmee, Ken Smith; and Polk County Republican Party Chairman Jimmy Nelson.

The Republican Party of Florida gave potential replacement candidates until 10 a.m. on Friday to declare any intention to run for the House District 42 place as the partys candidate even though it is too late to change ballots, removing Horners name.

Once considered a long-shot, Horners personal actions have given Democrat Eileen Game, a business executive from Frostproof, an opening and Democrats havent wasted any time trying to capitalize.

While Game had raised just $6,090, the Florida Democratic Party has already sent out a mailer in Osceola and Polk counties aimed at keeping Horners name fresh before voters.

The mailer highlights headlines from earlier this week.

The district, which includes portions of Osceola and Polk counties, has a Democrat majority among registered voters, but has tended to vote to the right. The district favored Gov. Rick Scott by 10 percentage points in 2010 and gave a slight edge to John McCain for president in 2008.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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