IT’S OFFICIAL: Kelly Smith Declares Candidacy for HD-38 Special Election

Pasco Voters to Head Back to the Polls for a Special Election in HD-38

A PASCO COUNTY VACANCY IS OFFICIAL in Florida House District 38 with the confirmation of Republican Danny Burgess to lead the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  Democrats now have a real opportunity to flip the seat Democratic Blue.

The Pasco Democratic Party is very happy to announce that Wesley Chapel Democrat Kelly Smith, recently elected Vice-Chair of the Pasco Democratic Party following her race for Pasco County Commissioner in District 2, has filed paperwork to run for the HD-38 seat which covers all of Pasco County east of Ehren Cutoff in Land O’ Lakes and includes Wesley Chapel plus the cities of Zephyrhills, Dade City, San Antonio and St. Leo.

In her official press release, Ms. Smith stated:  “I join the rest of Pasco County in wishing Rep. Burgess the best as he begins the next phase of his public service career.  Danny is a selfless public servant who has worked hard to represent his constituents.  I had the opportunity to interact with Rep. Burgess several times during my County Commissioner campaign and appreciated how friendly and open to dialogue he was.”

A graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, Kelly moved to Florida in 1996.  She became a resident of Pasco County in 2008 when she and her husband Patrick and their three children relocated from Naples, FL to Wesley Chapel. Kelly’s career experience includes public and private sector positions focusing on land use and transportation.  Kelly also has a long history of community volunteerism including Guardian ad Litem, the Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco, and Messengers of Hope Mission where she serves on the Board of Directors.  She was recently elected Vice Chair of the Pasco County Democratic Executive Committee.

Kelly ran for Pasco County Commissioner (District 2) in the 2018 midterm election.  Although she did not win, she secured 83,859 votes, representing 40.5% of votes cast and more votes than any other Democratic candidate running countywide in Pasco County. 

In her decision to run in the Special Election, Kelly Smith explained it clearly:  “For almost 20 years, Florida has been controlled by the Republican Party and elected officials who collectively turned their backs on the daily needs and concerns of working class Floridians. Their irresponsibility has led to inadequate funding for vital community services — high quality public education, access to affordable health care, and programs for foster children. Putting special interests first, they have failed in their responsibility to enact legislation that protects affordable housing and encourages conservation of our already depleted natural resources. It is for these reasons and more I have decided to run.”

According to the Pasco Supervisor of Elections, there are 41 precincts in the district, with just over 112,000 registered voters:  43,442 Republicans, 36,395 Democrats and 32,500 affiliated with neither major party.  The Governor has called for a special election for HD-38.  The final day for qualifying is February 14, 2019.  To qualify by petition, 288 signed petitions are required. 

If there is no need for a primary, the election will be held on April 9, 2019, the same day as the municipal election in Pasco County.  This means that the seat in HD-38 will not remain vacant for the entire legislative session that begins March 5 and is scheduled to conclude May 3. 

The southeastern Pasco district has been in Republican control since being redrawn ahead of the 2012 election cycle.  We are looking forward to flipping it to Democratic Blue in this special election.

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