Democrats file for Combee, Plasencia House seats

- A Democratic candidate emerged Friday in a special election to replace former state Rep. Neil Combee, an Auburndale Republican who left the House last month to take a federal agriculture job.

Democrat Ricky Shirah opened a campaign account to run in House District 39, which includes parts of Polk and Osceola counties, according to the state Division of Elections website. Shirah joined Republicans Jennifer Spath and Josie Tomkow in entering the race.

Gov. Rick Scott has scheduled a special primary election in the district for Feb. 20, and a special general election on May 1.

Meanwhile, Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, has drawn a Democratic challenger in his November 2018 re-election bid. Titusville Democrat Pamela Dirschka opened a campaign account Friday to run against Plasencia in House District 50, which includes parts of Brevard and Orange counties, according to the Division of Elections website.

Plasencia had raised $87,400 for his re-election bid as of Oct. 31.

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