State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith draws Republican reelection challenger


  • Photos via Robert Prater and Carlos Guillermo Smith / Facebook
As he seeks a third term in the Florida House, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, has drawn a Republican challenger.

Orlando Republican Robert Prater opened a campaign account this week to challenge Smith in 2020 in Orange County’s House District 49, according to the state Division of Elections website.

Smith, who was first elected to the seat in 2016, had raised $4,357 for his re-election bid as of July 31.

Prater, a teacher, last ran in 2018 for the Orange County School Board Chair. The election was won by former county mayor Teresa Jacobs in the August primary, with 52.2 percent of the vote. Prater came in last out of four candidates, earning 5.3 percent.

Also this week, two candidates emerged to run for open House seats next year. Brandon Democrat Mark Stephan Oliver opened an account to run in Hillsborough County’s House District 59. Rep. Adam Hattersley, D-Riverview, is running for Congress next year instead of seeking another term in District 59. Oliver joined fellow Democrat Andrew Learned and Republicans Melissa Lee Haskins and Michael Joseph Owen in running for the seat.

Meanwhile, Key Largo Republican Rhonda Rebman Lopez filed paperwork this week to run in House District 120, which will be open because Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, faces term limits. Lopez joined Republicans James Vernon Mooney and Alexandria Suarez in running for the seat, which represents Monroe County and part of Miami-Dade County.

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