Republican small businessman Maurice Pearson announced today that he would challenge rookie state House Rep. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, for her District 47 seat.

Pearson is president of an environmental consulting company he founded, and also serves on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection board that reviews land acquisitions.

Stewart is a rookie state legislator and former two-term Orange County commissioner who beat back a close 52-48 percent GOP challenge from former state lawmaker Bob Brooks in 2012.

Pearson, a Central Florida native and African American, says he would bring a small business perspective to Tallahassee, and listen to the community's needs, according to a press statement.

"Now more than ever, Florida needs leaders who understand this community, listen to their concerns then work effectively growing our economy, improving education and maintaining fiscally responsibility," Pearson said.

Not including party and other outside support, Brooks raised about $177,000, compared to Stewart's $138,000 in the 2012 race.

So far this cycle Stewart, who is white, has raised about $21,000.