Five candidates–four Republicans and a Democrat–qualified Tuesday to run in the special election to fill the Florida House District 44 seat.
Qualifying for the race ended at noon.
The four Republicans include Dr. Usha Jain, an urgent care physician; John Newstreet, president and chief executive officer of the Kissimmmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce; Bobby Olszewski, a former Winter Garden commissioner; and Orlando businessman Bruno Portigliatti.
The only candidate for the Democrats is businessman Paul Chandler.
District 44 covers western Orange County and became vacant when former state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle resigned after being appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to a position on Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal.
While Democrats would like to win the seat, the GOP holds a five percent lead in voter registration. The district has been long been held by Republicans.
The Republican primary will be held on Aug. 15 with the special election set to take place on Oct. 10.
The Republican candidates will only have eight weeks to make their names and views known to voters. That could give an advantage to better-known candidates such as Olszewski who has run twice for Winter Garden commissioner and ran, but lost a close contest last year for Orange County commissioner.
A top local Democratic official had filed papers to qualify for the special election but decided not to run at the last minute.
Orange County Democratic Executive Committee Vice Chair and Attorney, Nuren Haider, submitted her paperwork to run last week. She announced yesterday she decided not to qualify for the race.