April 24, 2014

Florida Politics

Seats Up for Grabs

A move away from partisan politics is stroking heated congressional battles and spelling trouble for incumbents across Florida. Here's a roundup.

Amy Keller | 6/1/2008
Dave Weldon [R]
Dave Weldon [R]
Bill Posey [R]
Bill Posey [R]
Paul Rancatore [D]
Paul Rancatore [D]

15th District — Smooth Sailing?

Don’t expect too much of a battle in the Space Coast’s 15th District, where Republican Rep. Dave Weldon is retiring after seven terms in Congress to return to his medical practice and devote more time to his family. Republican Party officials have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the seat does not fall into Democratic hands. In February, GOP leaders convinced state Rep. Stan Mayfield not to run for the seat in hopes of clearing the field for state Sen. Bill Posey as his likely successor. GOP Chairman Jim Greer took the unusual step of presenting a Rule 11 letter to Posey, which entitles him to financial support during the primary from the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Nonetheless, Posey has drawn two GOP competitors in the primary: Alan Bergman, a businessman from Indiatlantic and Kevin Lehoullier, a Fellsmere resident who is a senior executive at a cheese importing company. Trevor Lowing, a resident of Satellite Beach who has worked in the local defense, space and technology industries, is a registered Republican but is running on the ballot with no party affilation. Frank Zilaitis, a lawyer from Melbourne, has also filed as a no-party candidate. Democrats’ best hope for the seat is Paul Rancatore, an American Airlines’ captain and operating officer for I-Texas Wireless. He’ll do battle for the Democratic nomination with physician Stephen Blythe. While more than half of the 15th District’s voters live in Brevard, the district also encompasses all of Indian River County and parts of Osceola and Polk counties. Posey has served in the Legislature since 1992 and is the current chair of the important Banking and Insurance Committee.

Tags: Politics & Law, Around Florida, Government/Politics & Law

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