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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Field of candidates growing in one of state's most expensive state Senate races

What was already one of the most expensive state senate races in Florida is getting more crowded.

New College of Florida professor Frank Alcock, a Democrat, announced on Tuesday that he is joining the race to replace State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, in Senate District 23. There are already five Republicans and now two Democrats who have filed for the seat, which includes all of Sarasota County, plus a portion of Charlotte County.

Alcock said economic insecurity and health care will be big issues in his campaign.

“There are too many families in our state that struggle to make ends meet and too many children who don’t know where their next meal will come from,” Alcock said. “ And far, far too many people that still lack basic health insurance.We can and must do more for our fellow Floridians struggling to meet their basic needs.”

The candidates running in the Republican primary on Aug. 30 have already made that contest the most expensive GOP primary battle in the state. The five candidates have combined to raise $902,304 for the race. Former State Rep. Doug Holder, former Sarasota County commissioner Nora Patterson, businessman Rick Levine and current state reps. Greg Steube and Ray Pilon are all running for the seat.

On the Democratic side, Alcock faces Frank Cirillo in the Aug. 30 primary.

The amount raised for the race is third highest amount for any state senate race in Florida. State Senate District 39 in Miami is the most expensive. In that race, Sen. Anitere Flores, a Republican, is battling Democrat Andrew Korge in a race in which $1.2 million has already been raised. In second place is District 34 in Broward County, where Gary Farmer, former Rep. Jim Waldman and current Rep. Gwyn Clarke-Reed, all Democrats, have combined to raise $1.1 million for the seat.

The seat Alcock is seeking appears to favor a Republican candidate. In 2012, Mitt Romney won 53 percent of the vote within the boundaries of what is now District 23.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 2:08pm]


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