Democrat withdraws candidacy in Central Florida House race


  • Photo via Paul Chandler campaign
Democratic candidate Paul Chandler is ending his campaign in the special election for southwest Orange County's Florida House District 44.

"The Paul for Florida campaign will halt all campaign activities," a statement from the campaign says. "Due to circumstances from outside of the campaign, this decision was made with great deliberation."

House District 44 extends from Winter Garden and Windermere all the way down to Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake. Chandler's decision leaves no Democrat in the race for the seat vacated by Republican state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott as a state appeals judge. Last week, Robert "Bobby O" Olszewski, a former Winter Garden city commissioner, beat three other GOP primary competitors for the Republican nomination.

Chandler's candidacy was shadowed by a lawsuit that challenged the Democrat's residency qualifications to run in the special election. The attorney who filed the suit alleges Chandler has not lived in Florida the period of two years prior to an election needed to qualify. Florida Politics  reports that while Chandler had a split residency between Missouri and Florida, he has maintained that his primary residence has been the Sunshine State since 2015. Four days ago, the campaign told Florida Politics that they were confident Chandler would overcome the residency challenge.

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