• Debra Bellanti, 49, the Democratic challenger, is the founder and creative director of Bellanti Creative, a marketing consulting company in Tampa she started in 2015. The Fort Myers native has lived in Tampa for 26 years.
  • Jackie Toledo, 42, the Republican incumbent, was born in Lima, Peru and has lived in Tampa for 28 years. A civil engineer by trade, she works as a consultant for NUE Urban Concepts, Inc., a transportation consulting firm.


  • Florida Democrats are looking to regain control of the state House for the first time since 1996. They currently hold 41 seats, so they’ll need to gain 20 seats to have a majority in the chamber.
  • Bellanti calls public education her top priority and urged a special session to properly fund public education in Florida, saying state lawmakers have been cutting school spending since 2007. She also would focus on responsible growth and economic development.
  • Toledo pointed to her role in what she called record spending on public education, including safety measures passed in response to the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. She calls transportation fixes her top priority and would crack down on texting while driving.
  • The waterfront district is centered in the south Tampa peninsula. State representatives serve two year terms and receive $29,697 a year.


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