Mike LaRosa, replacement for Mike Horner, surprisingly wins in HD 42

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Mike LaRosa might be the most unlikely winner in Tuesday’s elections.

Little more than a month ago, LaRosa entered the House District 42 race after Rep. Mike Horner, R-Kissimmee, dropped out because of being linked to a prostitution investigation. At that late date, LaRosa couldn’t even get his name on the ballot — a vote for Horner would instead have to translate to a vote for LaRosa.

But early Wednesday, it appeared that LaRosa, a Celebration Republican, could, well, celebrate. With all of the District 42 precincts reporting in Osceola and Polk counties, LaRosa topped Frostproof Democrat Eileen Game by more than 500 votes, according to totals on the counties’ elections websites.

LaRosa, who entered the race Oct. 1, got a huge amount of help from the state Republican Party and major donors such as Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, the HCA health-care chain, Publix Super Markets and the Florida Home Builders Association. In all, he collected $114,475 in about a month.

Also, LaRosa was helped by Game being a low-visibility candidate. She had been given little chance of beating Horner and raised only $25,810 in contributions for the entire campaign.

But still, LaRosa had to count on voters being willing to cast ballots for Horner, whose departure drew headlines across the state. Reports even surfaced during the campaign that Democrats sent out mailers imploring voters to “say no to Mike Horner.”

Via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.