Longtime Timber Creek High School teacher and Avalon Park resident Sean Ashby will take another stab at House District 50.
By Kaleb Quast
Orange County Democratic leader and activist Sean Ashby has filed paperwork with the Florida Department of Elections, finalizing longstanding rumors that he would throw his hat into the ring in State House District 50. According to Frank Torres of the Orlando Political Observer, Ashby will enter the race as the only Democrat candidate, meaning he will likely face-off against GOP State Representative Rene Placencia.
Mr. Plasencia was elected to represent the neighboring 49th district, which leans slightly more Democratic, but announced earlier this year his intentions to instead run in the more conservative 50th district, as first reported by the East Orlando Post. The first year incumbents desire to switch districts was motivated in part by current legislator Tom Goodson’s (who Ashby faced in 2012) decision to switch districts himself.
Ashby’s entry sets up an interesting matchup between the two candidates, who have both been educators in Central Florida area for over 10 years. Placencia, who lost the GOP nod to Marco Pena in District 49 in 2012, ended up publicly endorsing and campaigning for Ashby following the primary – leading up to the general election.
Plasencia billed Ashby as a true voice of the community and someone who would bring honesty and dedication to Tallahassee if elected. Mr. Ashby came close in his first campaign for elected office in 2012, raising under $15,000 to his opponents $500,000, and will have full party backing this time around… according to our source in the capitol.
Following a press release sent on July 2nd, Ashby fired off an email to close family and friends outlining his plans for the campaign – which will focus on education, equal rights, jobs, and protecting the environment.
As someone who worked with Ashby closely during the 2014 election, as he lead the Citizens for Informed Elections PAC that was pushing for open and honest elections in Orange County, I am thrilled to see him enter the race. Not only is he an actual resident of the district, unlike Placencia who many are viewing as an opportunist who abandoned his district for an easier re-election in House District 50, but he actually cares about giving the middle class and small businesses in our area equal consideration in Tallahassee.
The people of District 50 will definitely experience a lively campaign between Ashby and Placencia. Look for Rene to run far-right in an effort to earn credibility in the conservative parts of the District, while Ashby strikes a more populist tone that will engage not only Democrats… but center-right Independents and moderate to liberal Republicans.
Kaleb is a senior in the Creative Writing & Journalism program at the University of Central Florida. Quast previously served as an editing intern and writer for the Orlando Weekly in 2014 before joining the East Orlando Post. Kaleb also serves as an editor for UCF’s literary magazine and worked as a staffer for the Florida Democratic Party in the 2014 election cycle. In his spare time, he makes black out astrology and is growing an avocado tree.