Republican Marco Pena, a former University of Central Florida student-body president, filed papers this week to run in an Orange County House district. Pena will run in District 49, which Democrats also have targeted as a possible pick-up seat in the November election.
Pena works for Florida Hospital’s Diabetes Institute and Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes. In a news release and on his campaign website, Pena said his grandparents came from Puerto Rico, which could be important as candidates battle for the support of Central Florida’s growing Hispanic population. A Democrat in the District 49 race, Joe Saunders, was one of the top House campaign fund-raisers during the first three months of the year, collecting $55,731. Republican Rene Plasencia also has opened a campaign account to run in the district, raising $17,976 during the year’s first quarter.