TAMPA — Democrats have chosen Rena Frazier, a real estate lawyer from Brandon, to challenge Republican incumbent Ross Spano for the state House District 59 seat in November.
Frazier defeated Naze Sahebzamani, a Robinson High School teacher, by a landslide in the Democratic primary. With all 41 precincts reporting, Frazier had 84 percent of ballots cast to 16 percent for Sahebzamani.
"We are just very excited, we worked really hard during this campaign and had a really good grass-roots effort," Frazier said from her watch party at O'Toole's Irish Pub in Brandon. She said she was "thrilled" with the margin of victory.
The Florida Democratic Party backed Frazier, 37, and the party believes the District 59 seat is among a half-dozen or so that could turn Democratic this fall. Frazier held a commanding fundraising advantage, reporting $169,000 in primary contributions while Sahebzamani raised $34,000.
In 2012, Spano defeated Democrat Gail Gottlieb by just over 1,000 votes out of more than 67,000 cast. Two years later, he won more handily, defeating Donna Lee Fore with 58 percent of the vote.
"We are ready to reboot and start tonight with a strong general election campaign," Frazier said. "We're going to be working just as hard to continue our grass-roots effort and continue fundraising to have a victory in November as well."
She is a lifetime Floridian and mother of four, including a daughter who is a cadet in the U.S. Air Force Academy. Her husband owns a small business that focuses on sustainable energy solutions.
Frazier is a past member of the Board of Trustees of Brandon Regional Hospital and currently serves on the board of the University Area Community Development Corp.
District 59 includes Brandon, Riverview and Valrico.
Contact Jerome R. Stockfisch at email@example.com. Follow @JStockfischTBT.