ORLANDO, Fla. – Republican Susan Plasencia is on track to unseat incumbent Democrat Carlos Guillermo Smith in Florida House District 37 Tuesday night.
With 97.2% of the precincts reporting, Plasencia was leading Smith 52% to 48%.
Smith, the six-term state representative and first openly-gay Hispanic member of the Florida House, was running against Republican Susan Plasencia for the newly-redrawn District 37.
While Smith’s current district covers primarily the UCF area from the Orange County line south to Curry Ford Road, the new District 37 runs from Colonial Drive in the UCF north area to a large swath of southeastern Seminole County to the Volusia County line. Smith said this has made the district more competitive.
And Plascencia is certainly giving Smith a run for his money with the help of state Republican campaign ads on TV.
Florida House members are elected to 2-year terms and can serve no more than four consecutive terms at a time.
Carlos Guillermo Smith*(D)
(34 / 36)
Republican Susan Plasencia runs the events company behind Festival Calle Orange in downtown Orlando, a massive annual Hispanic festival. She’s also the sister of retiring State Rep. Rene Plasencia.
Plasencia is running on a platform of expanding school choice and technical education. She also supports the parental rights in education law, known by critics as “Don’t Say Gay.”
She also said she wants to put trained police officers in every school, decrease the cost of property insurance and reform vocational licensing.
Plasencia is endorsed by a number of business organizations.
Carlos Guillermo Smith
Democrat Carlos Guillermo Smith is a UCF graduate who worked in retail management before going into politics. He’s currently Central Florida outreach coordinator for LGTBQ group Equality Florida.
Since then, Smith has been a champion of several issues, including teacher pay, LGBTQ rights, addressing affordable housing, voting rights and gun control. He also pushed to fully fund cultural programs and brought money to help veterans, first responders, and those affected by the Pulse tragedy in 2016.
He said he’s for calling for more accountability from private schools and charter schools that accept state money, reducing standardized testing, fully funding the state’s affordable housing trust fund, expanding renters’ rights, expanding Medicaid and is against tax breaks for large corporations.
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