Newly-minted Democrat David Welch to run for Hernando HD 35 seat

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After watching the Florida Legislature shoot down $51 billion in federal funds to expand Medicaid, mental health advocate David Welch decided to do something.

Starting Thursday, Welch — formerly a registered Republican — is now running as a Democrat for House District 35 in 2014, reports Danny Valentine in the Tampa Bay Times.

The 48-year-old Hernando resident is a mental health counselor and president of the Hernando County Alliance on Mental Illness.

Term-limited Rep. Rob Schenck currently represents House District 35, which covers most of Hernando County.

Welch, who will be running for office for the first time, faces Republican Blaise Ingoglia, the Spring Hill homebuilder and vice chair of the Republican GOP.

A Republican until early June, Welch knows he will have a hard time as a newly minted Democrat. So far, Ingoglia has over $110,000 in donations to his campaign, as well as the backing of many conservative GOP legislators.

“Everybody just started lining up — as the good ol’ boys do,” Welch told the Times

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.