Robert 'Bobby O' Olszewski wins FL House GOP primary

By Christie Zizo, Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 8:09 PM EDT

Republicans have their candidate for Florida House District 44.

Former Winter Garden Commissioner Robert "Bobby O" Olszewski was elected Tuesday night in the Republican primary for Florida House District 44, beating three other candidates.

Florida house District 44 includes much of southwest Orange County, including Winter Garden, Windermere, part of Ocoee and the Horizon West area, a new community that will eventually have 45,000 homes.

Olszewski won in a tight race against John Newstreet, the Kissimee Chamber of Commerce head, 40 percent to 38 percent, with a difference of 99 votes. Businessman Bruno Portigliatti came in at 18 percent and Dr. Usha Jain had 4 percent.

Olszewski will face Democrat Paul Chandler in the general election in November. Chandler, a businessman in the health care industry, is under fire over whether he meets the residency requirements for the job. A lawsuit accuses Chandler of voting in the November 2016 in Missouri. The plaintiff claims Chandler can't be a Florida resident for two years if he did that.

Chandler, however, tells News 13 he has been a resident of Orange County for over two years.

"I have been a resident of Orange County for over two years, and my 2012 Florida state ID remains valid," Chandler said in a statement. "This frivolous lawsuit is an attempt to bring Trump-style reality TV politics to Orange County and distract from the real issues that our campaign is working to address, like health care, education, and jobs."

Olszewski and Chandler are running to replace FL Rep. Eric Eisenaugle, who is leaving the post after he was appointed an appeals judge by Gov. Scott.

The special election is Oct. 10. Voters for the election must register by Sept. 11.