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Republican Alex Miller enters race for Ray Pilon’s HD 72 seat

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

House District 72 has drawn its first Republican candidate since current Rep. Ray Pilon announced he would vacate the seat to run for the Senate.

Businesswoman Alexandra Miller filed Monday, joining Democrat Edward James in the race for the Sarasota County seat.

“I’m not a politician. Like you, I am concerned for the future and believe we can build a better Florida. I will bring a unique perspective to the Florida House,” Miller said in an announcement.

Miller, who runs laboratory supply company Mercedes Medical, said her experience spans across business and healthcare and that she plans to “focus on making sure that every Floridian has access to affordable and quality health care.” The Sarasota Republican also said she is also focused on diversifying the economy and bringing in jobs.

“I know what it takes to build a business. I know how to manage a budget and meet a payroll. I have the skills to help our area create a bright future for us and all of our children,” Miller said.

HD 72 leans Republican and has been held by Pilon since 2010. Since the seat was redrawn in 2012, the three-term representative hasn’t faced much of a threat from Democratic candidates. He bested Greg Para in the 2014 cycle with 58 percent of the vote and in 2012, he dispatched Liz Alpert with about 54 percent of the vote on Election Day.

James is already better funded than either of those two challengers and he looks to be better prepared as well.

Since filing for the seat in June, the Sarasota Democrat has been able to bring more than $75,000 in contributions and still has about $53,000 of that money in his campaign account. James has also been successful raising money through his political committee, New Direction Florida, which had more than $160,000 on hand heading into March.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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