Carolina Amesty wins District 45 primary

In Orange County, Jerry Demings defeated his challengers to retain his post as mayor, and Teresa Jacobs also retained her position at chair of the Orange County School Board.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • News
  • Share

Editor’s note: All voting totals and percentages are from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections’ unofficial results.

Political newcomer Carolina Amesty emerged victorious in a crowded Republican primary for District 45 Florida State Representative.

In Orange County, Amesty, 27, of Windermere, garnered 4,570 (44.55%) votes to defeat Vennia Francois, Janet Frevola, Bruno Portigliatti and Mike Zhao during the primary Tuesday, Aug. 23. Portigliatti received 2,346 (22.87%), Francois 1,724 (16.81%), Zhao 1,201 (11.71%), and Frevola 417 (4.07%).

“It’s a good night,” Amesty said from her watch party at Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista. “Our community has won, and we are now heading to victory in November. We have won, as a whole.”

Amesty serves as executive vice president of Central Christian University. She also is a restaurant owner; a board member of Chaplains of Florida, American Chaplains and Central Christian Academy; and president of the Orlando Republican Women Federated. She was named a Republican rising star by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney.

She secured endorsements from Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis and Donald Trump Jr. leading up to the primary.

In a Q&A with the Observer, Amesty named rising costs of property insurance, rising property taxes and infrastructure needs as top priorities. 

She also said she aligns with Gov. Ron DeSantis and vowed to support his leadership in Florida.

“I am a strong conservative who will stand with Gov. Ron DeSantis to push back on the Joe Biden national agenda and seek to lower taxes, reduce regulation and continue to invest in the infrastructure our state needs,” she said.

Now, Amesty will face Democrat Allie Braswell — who had no primary opponent — in the Nov. 8 general election. Braswell was chairman of the Garden Theatre Board of Directors but resigned recently to focus on his campaign.

Longtime Florida politician Daniel Webster defeated soundly opponents Laura Loomer and Gavriel Soriano in the Republican primary for U.S. House Florida District 11. 

In Orange County, Webster received 12,802 (60.06%) votes, Loomer 7,333 (34.4%), and Soriano 1,182 (5.54%).

Webster leaned on his experience in his campaign against Loomer and Soriano.

“This district has the largest share of seniors in the country, and as a senior myself, I know firsthand the issues and challenges seniors face,” he told the Observer. “I have a proven record of serving you and making a difference in Washington. Keeping my word to help stop the spigot of spending, I have saved taxpayers more than $3 million out of my budget and annually roll back my congressional salary. I have gotten federal agencies to return more than $12 million to constituents.”

Furthermore, he said his demeanor is crucial in being able to work toward solutions in Congress.

“I treat everyone with dignity and respect,” he said. “I encourage each of us to seek to serve others, not ourselves. Unkindness and hatred cannot coexist with a focus on serving others.”

Webster will face Democrat Shante Munns in the general election.


In a race between two sitting legislators, Geraldine Thompson defeated Kamia Brown for the State Senator District 15 seat. 

Thompson secured 26,134 (52.77%) votes, compared to Brown’s 23,390 (47.23%).

The redistricted District 15 now spans the northwest sector of Orange County, including northern Winter Garden and Ocoee.

Jennifer “Rita” Harris defeated state Rep. Daisy Morales for District 45 Florida State Representative.

Harris received 7,416 (53.71%) votes, while Morales garnered 6,392 (46.29%).

District 44 includes Dr. Phillips.

Incumbent Mayor Jerry Demings won reelection over challengers Chris Messina, Tony Sabb and Kelly Semrad.

“I feel honored that the voters of Orange County continue to have faith in my leadership,” Demings said. “Without their support, this would not be possible.”

Demings received 98,827 (59.38%) votes. Messina received 36,791 (22.11%), Sabb 15,449 (9.28%), and Semrad 15,369 (9.23%). 

In a Q&A with the Observer, Demings noted managing population growth; housing affordability and availability; and transportation infrastructure as priorities for Orange County. 

Incumbent Teresa Jacobs defeated challengers Demensio Barton and Carl Brewer to keep her post as Orange County School Board chair.

Jacobs secured 111,607 (68.98%) votes, compared to Barton’s 25,876 (15.99%) and Brewer’s 24,320 (15.03%).

• Circuit Judge, 9th Judicial Circuit Group 9: Alison Kerestes defeated Fay Olga Pappas.
• Circuit Judge, 9th Judicial Circuit Group 14: John Beamer defeated Michael Stewart.
• Circuit Judge, 9th Judicial Circuit Group 44: Vincent Chiu defeated Aldo Bartolone.
• County Judge Group 2: Andrew Bain defeated Jared Adelman.
• County Judge Group 8: Elizabeth Starr defeated Michael Morris.
• County Judge Group 9: Amanda Sampaio Bova defeated Steven Miller.
• County Judge Group 17: Elizabeth Gibson defeated Josh Adams.

Voters approved the referendum to continue the one mill ad valorem millage for Orange County Public Schools. The referendum extends the tax for four fiscal years, ending June 30, 2027.



Michael Eng

As a child, Editor and Publisher Michael Eng collected front pages of the Kansas City Star during Operation Desert Storm, so it was a foregone conclusion that he would pursue a career in journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and three children, or playing drums around town. He’s also a sucker for dad jokes.

Latest News