Fresh off winning a bruising three-way Republican Primary, Doug Bankson has a firm commitment from state Republicans to support his quest to take the new House District 39 seat in Central Florida.
Bankson, an Apopka City Commissioner and church pastor, defeated Orange County Republican Chair Charles Hart and activist Randy Ross in the Aug. 23 Primary Election. A few days later he picked up $49,000 from the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee and another $4,200 worth of in-kind research from the Republican Party of Florida, according to campaign finance filings through Aug. 26.
The House Republicans’ committee cash instantly replenished a campaign fund that Bankson’s campaign had spent nearly dry to defeat Hart and Ross.
It’s likely to be only an opening party ante, as both major parties have shown commitments to try to take the district’s open seat.
Democrats already have made significant efforts to support their nominee, Tiffany Hughes, a Longwood staffing consultant and former local president of the NAACP. Democrats haven’t provided any cash to Hughes yet, but the Florida Democratic Party provided her $23,000 worth of staff support and research before the General Election campaign began. She didn’t face a Primary opponent.
The latest reports posted by the Division of Elections show that Hughes’ campaign had raised about $96,000 cash and had $64,000 in the bank.
Bankson’s campaign now has raised $142,000. With the $50,000 from the Republican House campaign committee, he had about $56,000 in the bank on Aug. 26.
This year’s redistricting created a new HD 39 that essentially covers the Apopka area, across northwestern Orange County and southeastern Seminole County.
Yet HD 39 is much more than just Apopka. It takes in the old town half of Winter Garden, the farming and greenhouse areas of Zellwood, the lush conservation areas of Wekiva Springs and the western ends of Lake Mary and Longwood in Seminole County. The mix runs from farms to country club communities to suburbia to low-income neighborhoods.
The last couple of General Elections suggest the election preference is pretty evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The most recent voter registration data backs that up, showing that HD 39 has fewer than 100 more Democrats than Republicans, an advantage of 0.1%.