Brevard Legislator Faces Residency Questions, Crashes With Daughter?

    The residence where State Representative Tom Goodson claims his homestead exemption, sits within future Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli’s district.


    By Jacob Engels

    It has been a bad few weeks for state legislator Tom Goodson who represents District 50 in the Florida House – which includes East Orange County & Northern Brevard. Last week, his primary GOP opponent George Collins sent out a mailer voters in the district questioning Goodson’s ethics – hitting him for living outside of the district, which is against state the constitution. He also faced a tough crowd at the Orange County Republican Executive Committee meeting where several members also questioned his residency, embarrassing him in front of newly elected Republican Party of Florida Chairwoman Leslie Dougher.


    Below are the TOP 7 REASONS that make an already tough re-election for the Space Coast legislator even tougher in 2014.


    1) Goodson Almost Loses in 2012 –


    Goodson barely escaped Orange County teacher Sean Ashby in 2012, spending $250,000 through his campaign & getting another $200,000 from the RPOF in a last minute ad blitz. Ashby, who spent a little over $12,000 in his campaign only lost by 4,000 votes out of close to 80,000 cast and won Orange County. Goodson benefited from high GOP turnout in the more conservative Brevard County.

    Sources familiar with the ad spend within the RPOF tell us that Ashby was actually ahead in polling a few weeks out – and that Goodson “sold his soul” to secure money from the state party after his campaign account went dry.


    2) Absent In The District After Election –


    Following his election in 2012, Representative Goodson went months without leaving Brevard County – ignoring Orange County & East Orlando issues. After nearly 6 months of “legislating” in Tallahassee & Brevard County – millionaire Goodson, who has more than enough means to make regular trips to the “other” side of his district – made his first public appearance at Timber Creek High School with public records destroyer & Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson.


    Following this appearance, Goodson would step outside of Brevard more frequently – but only to stop at conservative or business functions. He even evaded requests for help from a non-profit located in his district, and only visited & opened lines of communication after being called out publicly several times.


    3) Almost Loses East Side Hob Nob To George Collins –


    In one of the biggest & first hob nobs of the season, Goodson’s primary opponent George Collins came within 14 votes of knocking off the incumbent. This was extremely embarrassing for Goodson because this was a Chamber of Commerce sponsored event – filled with fellow businessmen and women, a place where Goodson should have blown Collins (a professor at Valencia College) out of the water. This was one of the early indicators in the 2014 election cycle of the trouble Goodson faces from the August 26th primary.

    4) Goodson Primary Opponent Loans Campaign $80,000 –


    Between May & the latest filing deadline, Goodson’s primary opponent George Collins has loaned himself $80,000 and has already spent nearly double of what Ashby did in 2012 when running against Goodson.


    Goodson on the other hand has spent more than Collins, expending $61,323.42 to date. That is almost 4 times less than what Goodson had to spend out his campaign account to fend off Ashby & close to 8 times less of the total money spent securing his victory in 2012 – if you include the $200,000 from the state Republican party.


    When you look closely at Collins’ numbers, he has spent over $22,000 on campaign activities already and we hear that he will be spending much more between now and August 26th. He has nearly $58,000 cash on hand, nearly $66,000 less than Goodson.

    If 2012 is any indication of how much someone needs to spend to knockoff Goodson, Collins is already on track to be running neck and neck with the incumbent, or even leading.

    Campaign finance documents show that Collins has spent almost $10,000 on mailers – and our sources tell us that this is just the first of many rounds of targeted mail-pieces that will hit more voters – including other methods of voter outreach that a volunteer close to the campaign refused to specify, but did say that it would be “extensive.”


    Here are the hard numbers for each candidate according to the last available campaign finance documents.

    State Representative Tom Goodson –

    Total Raised – $186,00.56

    Spent – $61,323.42

    Cash On Hand – $124,677.14


    George Collins, GOP Primary Challenger –

    Total Raised – $80,000.00

    Spent – $22, 315.68

    Cash On Hand – $57,684.32


    5) State GOP Conducts Poll In District 50 & Finds Goodson Lagging  –


    Before his odd and ill-advised performance at the late July Orange County GOP meeting, the Florida GOP conducted a poll in District 50 – and just like in 2012 with Ashby, and they found Goodson lagging AGAIN. We can’t confirm the actual numbers, but it’s possible that Goodson was even behind. Republican Party of Florida Chair Leslie Dougher then authorized a $25,000 check and more in-kind donations to Goodson’s sinking campaign.


    Now $25k is 25k, but that is far less than the nearly quarter of a million dollars the Florida GOP funneled to Goodson the last go around – which can’t be good news, especially since his fundraising this year is also far behind his 2012 numbers.


    In the only case of good luck Tom Goodson has had this year, he was able to get this injection before he made a fool of himself in front of the Republican Party of Florida Chairwoman & Orange County Republicans in late July. Hard to think Chairman Dougher would have sent $25,000 after Goodson’s “odd” omission of shacking up with his daughter.


    6) Tea Party Activists Embarrasses Tom Goodson At Republican Meeting –

    At July’s Orange County Republican Executive Committee meeting that was headlined by newly elected Florida GOP Chair Leslie Dougher, State Representative Tom Goodson made the mistake of addressing the crowd – and then made another mistake by opening the floor for questions.

    Full-time brown-noser Shawn Richmond, who worked on the Sandy Adams campaign for congress in 2010 made another obsequious bow of flattery by praising Goodson for his time in the legislature – YAWN. However, the next comment from the audience really rocked the crowd.

    Tea Party leader and co-founder of the East Side Tea Party Kelli Lee laid into Representative Goodson about his residency and asked where exactly did he live. Goodson answered that he lived in a shared apartment in Titusville which is co-owned by his wife and daughter – according to an article by the News Service of Florida.

    Now, who really believes that Goodson, a man in his 60’s who is worth millions is shacking up at his daughters apartment…..instead of living in his nearly half-a-million dollar 3,500sq foot home outside of the district? I mean the guy has a Rolex that is worth more than half of this supposed “in district” residence of his daughters that he couch surfs at, so we suggest you take his answer about living at the Titusville condo (daughter’s place) with a grain of salt. Why would he slum it with her?

    How insanely embarrassing for the legislature to have to face these types of questions in front of the head of his party – the one who controls how much the state & too some extent the local GOP’s in Brevard and Orange County’s spend on voter outreach efforts on Goodson’s behalf.

    7) Last Nail In The Coffin? Goodson Trashed Marco Rubio In Favor of Charlie Crist –


    In 2010, while the US Senate Republican primary was hotter than the Sahara, Tom Goodson passed on endorsing Marco Rubio while he was facing off against then Republican Governor Charlie Crist – he even went as far to say he was concerned about Marco Rubio’s “financial problems.” This is yet another example of how tone-def Goodson was and still remains. 

    Verdict –


    Tom Goodson has done little to nothing to prevent the many missteps he has made since winning re-election in 2012, with some problems coming even before that as he trashed Marco Rubio in favor of habitual flip-flopper Charlie Crist. Republican voters in Brevard & Orange County should think twice about the points raised above before re-electing Goodson, who potentially does not even live in the district.


    Heck, maybe he can sell his Rolex and tap the couple million sitting in his bank account to buy HIS OWN residence in the ACTUAL district.



    Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at