Two Polk County Republicans are facing off in an increasingly competitive GOP primary for the open House District 40 seat to be vacated by term-limited Rep. Seth McKeel.
Colleen Burton had a substantial head start in the race, running unopposed for much of last year. Adding another $11,700 in the March reporting period, the well-known former executive director for Polk Vision brought her overall campaign contributions to $90,675, with more than $75,000 cash on hand.
However, in February, trial attorney and Marine Corps veteran John Hugh Shannon entered the race, raising about $35K in three weeks. Last month, Shannon added another $9,475 to bring the total to $44,750, quickly closing the gap with a series of billboards and television ads promoting his staunch conservatism. Shannon has nearly $42,000 cash on hand, to boot.
Although the numbers of registered Democrats and Republicans run somewhat even in HD 40, which includes much of Polk County including Lakeland, McKeel ran unopposed, so the Burton/Shannon matchup could turn out to be interesting.