Republican Melissa Haskins, a businesswoman, has launched a bid to challenge freshman state Rep. Adam Hattersley, D-Riverview.
Haskins announced on Wednesday that she was running for the seat which covers parts of Hillsborough County and she stressed her ties to the area.
“As a Brandon native, I care immensely about this community. Each and every day I work to make it a better place. I will bring this same compassion and work ethic as a member of the Florida House, representing my friends and neighbors. I believe that I can affect public policy and genuinely improve people’s lives. I look forward to running a robust campaign and sharing my fresh ideas and practical solutions with each and every voter,” Haskins said.
Currently a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments, Haskins has been active in the community as the president of the Board of Directors at E.C.H.O., as past president of the Valrico/FishHawk Chamber of Commerce and in other roles.
On paper, this should be one of the closest legislative races in Florida next year. When Republican Ross Spano decided to run for attorney general and then Congress in 2018, Hattersley edged Republican Joe Wicker by less than 2,000 votes, winning 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent. While Democrats make up 37 percent of the district and Republicans make up 33 percent of it, it is a swing district. That was made clear back in 2016 when Republican Donald Trump took 47.6 percent of the vote in the district while 47 percent of voters here backed Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.