Orlando Weekly Voting Guide 2020: Meet the incumbents and challengers in Florida's U.S. Congressional Districts 7, 8, 9 and 10


It would be very easy for us to simply list endorsements. But instead, we think you can make your own mind up — so we've listed a little information about each candidate, along with links to their websites. Happy voting!

Representative in U.S. Congress

Floridians have two U.S. Senators who serve six-year terms, but neither Sen. Marco Rubio nor Sen. Rick Scott are up for re-election in 2020. You'll get to stick it to Rubio in two years (he will probably just win again), and Scott will likely run for president in 2024 (yikes).

Your members of Congress, however, run every two years, without term limits. Orange County is home to four congressional districts: Districts 7, 8, 9 and 10.

  • Photo courtesy Stephanie Murphy campaign
  • U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy

Congressional District 7

Includes all of Seminole County and northern Orange County, along with much of northern and downtown Orlando, plus Maitland and Winter Park. The University of Central Florida is also in the district.

Stephanie Murphy (Democrat, Winter Park)
Occupation: Two-term U.S. congresswoman, Rollins College faculty member
Endorsed by both Mayor Jerry Demings and Mayor Buddy Dyer
Serves on the House Ways and Means Committee
Moderate Democrat, member of “Blue Dog Coalition”

William Garlington (No Party Affiliation, Oviedo)
Occupation: Businessman
Describes himself as a conservative since the age of 8
Campaign site describes political ideology as “Independent American Reformeer” [sic]: "Cut Federal Government 60 percent by 2040, Border Security, Protection of the Unborn."

Leo Valentin (Republican, Orlando)
Occupation: Doctor of radiology
Support for President Trump, "whether it's lowering our taxes, strong national security or working to stop illegal immigration, gun rights, stand with law enforcement and strive to advocate, pro-life."
Endorsed by Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rick Scott

Congressional District 8

Includes parts of east Orange County and all of Brevard and Indian River counties.

Bill Posey
(Republican, Rockledge) (Incumbent)
Occupation: Six-term congressman, former state representative and former state senator
Endorsed by President Trump
Serves on the Financial Services Committee
"Bill is a consistent opponent of wasteful government spending and is a cosponsor of a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to pass a balanced budget."

Jim Kennedy (Democrat, Cape Canaveral)
Occupation: Engineer and scientist
Veteran and "Second Amendment Democrat"
Supports universal healthcare, more COVID stimulus, abortion rights, term limits
"The right to possess firearms should not be removed, but it needs to be regulated. The first step is to have fewer people enter the criminal justice system in the first place by increasing funding for housing, education, and healthcare."

Congressional District 9

Includes all of Osceola County, parts of south Orange and east Polk counties.

Darren Soto (Democrat, Orlando) (Incumbent)
Occupation: Two-term U.S. congressman and attorney
Two-term U.S. congressman and attorney
Serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Natural Resources
Successfully pushed through a bill to get Pulse recognized as a national memorial
"Darren will fight to protect Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, the rights of women, and long-term job growth."

Bill Olson (Republican, Davenport)
Occupation: Retired U.S. Army First Class Sergeant, Walt Disney World guest relations
Self-described Christian conservative
"Veterans Affairs needs reform, eliminate job-killing regulations, pursue American energy independence, dismantle radical Islamist networks, strengthening our nation’s borders by finishing the wall, improving border surveillance, and eliminating illegal immigration 'incentives,' repeal Obamacare’s disastrous regulations, and expand quality, market-driven healthcare."

  • Photo courtesy office of Val Demings

Congressional District 10

Includes west Orange County.

Val Demings (Democrat, Orlando) (Incumbent)
Occupation: Two-term U.S. congresswoman, former Orlando Police chief
Grabbed the national spotlight as an impeachment manager for proceedings against President Trump
Short-lister for vice president in Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign

Vennia Francois
 (Republican, Orlando)
Occupation: Contract attorney for Lockheed Martin
Former staffer for Sen. Mel Martinez and Sen. George LeMieux
Endorsed by Sen. Marco Rubio
Opposed to defunding the police, believes "we need to instead reform de-escalation training techniques"
Supports "maintaining a private healthcare system"
Will "oppose using any public funds to promote or perform abortion or to fund organizations which perform or advocate in favor of abortions"

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