Republican state Rep. Scott Plakon’s House District 29 re-election campaign got a little easier after his only opponent dropped out of the race last week.
Libertarian David Leavitt sent a withdrawal letter to the Florida Division of Elections on Oct. 5 and was just recently removed from the 2016 candidate list.
Leavitt’s candidacy alone didn’t cast doubt on Plakon’s re-election chances, but considering the Libertarian pulled together a good amount of money (compared to most other third-party candidates), Leavitt might have siphoned away votes from Plakon.
As of his September report, Leavitt had raised nearly $14,000, with most of it on-hand. Through the same date, Plakon raised about $35,500, including $7,000 in September. His most recent finance report shows $32,384 cash-on-hand.
District 29 flipped parties in 2014 when Plakon knocked out incumbent Democrat Mike Clelland with 57 percent of the vote. It was very close in 2012, though, when Clelland won the seat over presumed future House Speaker Chris Dorworth by just 146 votes despite the fact that the district sports a sizable voter registration advantage for Republicans.
Given the slimmer margins in presidential election years, a Libertarian who takes even a few percent of the vote could wreak havoc on Republican chances in the district. For now, Leavitt’s exit leaves Plakon alone in the race, and able to breathe a little easier a year out from Election Day.