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Tampa Bay’s state House districts draw new candidates

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

West Tampa’s HD 62 and Clearwater-based HD 66 got some new filers for the 2018 cycle according to the Florida Division of Elections.

Christopher Louis Licata III filed to run in HD 62 in late July, and is so far the only Republican running in the left-leaning seat being vacated by term-limited Democratic Rep. Janet Cruz. Licata spent 8 years in the Navy and is currently listing his campaign as his full-time job on networking site LinkedIn.

He joins four Democrats already running for the seat: Michael Alvarez, Carlos Frontela, John Rodriguez and Juan Vasquez. Avarez, a former Marine, currently leads the pack in fundraising with $10,300 in the bank, including $5,000 in loans.

Across the bay in HD 66, Reform Party of Florida Chairman Paul Bachmann joined the race to take over for term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern.

On the Reform Party National Committee website, Bachman said major-party candidates “have made it clear that members need to vote according to what the leaders say. It is time for State Representatives to represent the people not a political party.”

Reform Party officials hope a strong showing in HD 66 “can prove the Reform Party still has a future.”

Bachmann joins Republican Berny Jacques in race for the safe Republican district. Through the end of June, the lone GOP candidate had raised more than $54,000 and had $45,259 on hand.

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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.

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