Previewing the Top 20 Florida House races to watch in 2014: HD 84 and HD 89  

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Moving to the East Coast of Florida, a pair of incumbents faces stiff competition from solid candidates.

Both incumbent Democratic state Rep. Larry Lee, Jr. and Republican Rob Siedlecki had no opposition in their respective primaries for House District 84, which covers much of north St. Lucie County. In 2012, Lee, a Port St. Lucie insurance agent, won his first term in office in the Democratic-leaning district with just a 4 percent margin of victory.

During his time in the House, Lee crossed party lines to work with Republican State Sen. Joe Negron to protect the Indian River Lagoon in an attempt to secure $230 million to safeguard the region.

Siedlecki brings a wealth of state and federal experience to the HD 84 race. Currently a principal at business development company RMS Consulting Solutions, Siedlecki previously served in both federal and state governments, including stints at the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Republican incumbent state Rep. Bill Hager is also looking for another term in House District 89, which covers Boca Raton to Palm Beach Shores in eastern Palm Beach County. He faces David Silvers, a sound candidate enjoying the full support of the Florida Democratic Party.

In 2012, Hager defeated Democratic former House Speaker Tom Gustafson by  just 5 percent. Republicans have less than a 2 percent registration advantage in HD 89.

During his time in office, Hager was best known for introducing House Bill 49, part of a series of bills known collectively as “Caylee’s Law,” named after Casey Anthony’s daughter, whose death led to an infamous trial where Anthony – who many thought committed the crime — was ultimately set free.

Hager’s bill proposed a range of requirements such as the timely reporting of missing or deceased children. Although that version of the bill died in committee, companion HB 37 passed unanimously and was signed into law on April 2012.

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.