Candidate to run in State Rep. Mike Horner's place could be named soon


OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - WFTV has learned that the Republican Party is working on a short list of prospective candidates to replace state Rep. Mike Horner on the November ballot.

Horner announced his decision not to run for re-election after it was reported that his name was on a list of clients from a suspected brothel in east Orange County.

WFTV's Ryan Hughes found out some of Osceola County's top Republicans wrapped up a meeting about the issue on Wednesday night. They're working to scramble to find a replacement for Horner.

Two dozen people have shown interest in running for the soon-to-be-vacant position. That candidate will face Democrat Eileen Game for the District 42 seat in the Nov. 6 election.

By Thursday, the list of 24 should be narrowed to about five or six people.

WFTV learned among those expected to make the short list: Jimmy Nelson, the chairman of the Polk County Republican Executive Committee, and Frank Attkisson, an Osceola County Commissioner.

Attkisson previously served as a state representative. If Attkisson enters the race, he will have to resign his commission seat. He told WFTV he still has to mull over the opportunity.

Also possibly in the running is Randy Johnson, who served in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years.

The Osceola County Republican chairman said the group plans to vote on the new candidate on Saturday.

One local politician told WFTV there was a slam-dunk chance that Horner would've been re-elected, but the person who replaces him will have a tough time winning, considering ballots have already been printed and Horner's name will appear on all of them.

Horner is expected to stay in office until November.