Ed Smith has gathered enough petition signatures to qualify for the House District 41 race, the Bartow Republican said Wednesday.
“The campaign has got momentum,” Smith said. “I thank everyone who signed a card for me and I have enjoyed meeting new friends along the way.”
The former Winter Haven Police officer is the first candidate in the race to qualify through the petition method and is one of three Republicans running for the seat currently held by term-limited Republican Rep. John Wood.
Heading into 2016 Smith, a Navy veteran, had about $35,000 on-hand, putting him behind just Sam Killebrew in the three-way Republican Primary.
There are also two Democrats running for the Polk County seat, which leans slightly toward GOP House candidates, despite being carried by President Barack Obama in 2012.