Rene Plasencia is the best choice for Republicans looking to knock off incumbent legislator Joe Saunders, while perennial candidate George Collins is the best bet for District 50 residents looking for a change in representation.
By Jacob Engels
House District 49 –
First, let’s start with the UCF heavy District 49 race between Rene “Coach P” Plasencia and Ed “Robocop” Rodriguez.
Rene Plasencia, widely known as “Coach P,” is taking a second crack at the district after a narrow loss to former OOCEA Board Member Marco Pena. Plasencia, who is a teacher & track coach at Colonial High School, has been running another well staffed and volunteered campaign.
He has a thrall of young canvassers, both former and current students who are walking everyday in the district. Mr. Plasencia, who showed an appetite for intense voter outreach in his 2012 race, has showed no signs of slowing down this go round. Plasencia has a firm grasp of the issues facing the district.
Plasencia recently received the endorsement of health care IT executive Jesse Phillips, who dropped out of the race and is now working on Longwood Mayor Bob Cortes’s campaign for state house in Seminole County.
His opponent, Ed “Robocop” Rodriguez is a retired police detective from New York. Rodriguez has run a bare bones campaign, raising very little to get his message out. While Rodriguez has snagged the endorsement of the Conservative Ministers of Central Florida, he has failed to demonstrate any substantial community support.
His campaign announcement video, which looks like it was shot on a 90’s era handheld Sony camcorder was weird to say the least, but hey – it could have gone “viral” is probably what his campaign was thinking….right?
Our Endorsement in FL HD 49.
Mr. Plasencia has the community roots, ability to raise money and call in support from the State GOP, and the campaign structure to beat incumbent Joe Saunders. His knowledge of local matters is on par with the districts current legislator, maybe even better refined in some areas.
The East Orlando Post endorses Rene “Coach P” Plasencia.
House District 50 –
Current incumbent legislator Tom Goodson has been not been focused on East Orlando at all during his most recent term in the Florida House. Goodson, who claims his homestead exemption outside of the district, “lives” with his daughter in a cozy two bedroom condo in Titusville to avoid residency requirements.
Goodson, who was almost defeated by underdog Democratic candidate Sean Ashby in the 2012 elections, is facing opposition from within this time. Fellow Republican George Collins, who actually lives in the district has loaned himself $80,000 to fund his campaign against Goodson.
Collins is well versed in local issues, and has vowed to focus more resources on the Orange County part of the district – a segment largely ignored by the Brevard-centric Goodson. The Collins campaign has sent out several mailers and has been seen walking door to door across the district. Goodson has also been actively hitting voters with mail pieces, but has not been seen attending many community events or interacting with voters.
While Collins is a regular candidate for political office, this is the first time he has been able to gain traction in his many campaigns. The East Orlando Post, Orlando Sentinel, Florida News Service, and a host of other publications have covered his campaign – highlighting his complaint that was filed with the state about Goodson living outside of the district. Collins, who is a college professor, has what it takes to serve as an effective legislator of all peoples in the district, not just the people in his backyard.
Our Endorsement In HD 50.
George Collins is surely an underdog against the incumbent, who has been able to raise a substantial amount of money and rely on backing from the state GOP – which is not supposed to pick sides in primaries. However, Collins would serve the district better than the longtime politician Goodson, and for those reasons and the ones listed above – we endorse George Collins in the State House District 50 race.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org