TCPalm: Sanjay Patel challenges Bill Posey in Florida's 8th congressional district race

Posted on October 11, 2018

By: Ali Schmitz, Treasure Coast Newspapers

Indian River County has been represented by U.S. Rep. Bill Posey for nearly a decade, but for the first time, the Republican has a serious challenger in Democrat Sanjay Patel.

Patel, a community activist and former technology consultant, is well-funded, gathering large crowds at events in the district's most populated areas and has the support of local, state and national Democratic and progressive groups and some labor unions.

Still, Posey is a well-recognized name in the district after serving five terms in Congress and 16 years in the Florida House and Senate. He's lived in the district since he was a child and has more than twice the amount of money in his campaign account. He has the support of conservative groups, local Realtor groups and the state's police union.

Posey has about $600,000 for his re-election bid, while Patel has more than $230,000 — more than Corry Westbrook raised to unseat Posey in 2014 and 2016 combined.

In a solidly red district — Republicans outnumber Democrats 43 percent to 27 percent in Brevard and Indian River counties — nonpartisan political analysts such as Cook Political Report and Inside Elections, expect Posey to easily win his re-election bid.

While a blue wave isn't expected to hit this district, it remains to be seen whether Posey will run a closer race next month than in 2016, when he trounced Westbrook by more than 30 points.

District 8 — with 757,000 residents in all of Indian River and Brevard counties and part of east Orange County —  has 535,724 registered voters and is overwhelmingly white and middle age. Whites number 83 percent and the median age is 48.5…

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