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Eric Eisnaugle opponent drops out of HD 44, setting up easy re-election

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Republican Rep. Eric Eisnaugle’s only challenger dropped out of the House District 44 race this week, setting up an easy re-election campaign for the Orlando lawmaker.

Democrat Scott Cox filed for the Orange County House seat in May, though his campaign never showed any signs of life. The 19-year-old Valencia College student posted waivers in lieu of finance reports for each of the six months he was in the race.

Cox, by virtue of being a Democrat, didn’t pose much of a threat to Eisnaugle due to the Republican Party advantage in HD 44. Republicans make up about 38 percent of the district’s electorate compared to a 31.5 percent share for Democrats, and the remaining voters in the district tend to vote for the more conservative candidate.

The only Democrat to make it to the Election Day since the seat was redrawn was Shaun Raja, who ran in the January 2014 special election that brought Eisnaugle back to the Legislature. He only managed to grab 25.8 percent of the vote with the balance backing Eisnaugle. In the 2014 general election, the former HD40 representative only faced no-party candidate Matthew Falconer.

The lack of challengers hasn’t kept Eisnaugle from raking in contributions, though. The 38-year-old lawmaker is the odds-on favorite for House Speaker in 2020 and through October has collected more than $614,000 for the committee backing his bid, including a $77,500 performance last month.

The Committee for Justice and Economic Freedom had $142,000 on-hand heading into November, with his campaign account showing $63,000 on-hand through the same date.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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