After nine long months, Florida’s 20th Congressional District will finally have a Representative again.
With 100% of the precincts in, Democratic nominee Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (44,651 votes) defeated Republican nominee Jason Mariner (10,959 votes) by a 78.9% to 19.3% margin.
This long odyssey began when long-time, and controversial, incumbent Congressman Alcee Hastings passed away on April 6th. Governor Ron DeSantis, in a bid to keep the deep blue seat out of Democratic hands for as long as possible, set the Democratic primary for the November election.
The 20th is a majority Black district, comprising parts of Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, that went for Joe Biden by a 77% to 22% margin in 2020. So the Democratic primary was always going to serve as the likely decisive contest.
Furthermore, despite being 84 years old and dealing with pancreatic cancer, Hastings failed to identify a successor. As a result, a crowded field of seven major Democratic candidates emerged. Initial surveys found Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness with a slight edge over the diverse field of challengers. By the fall, however, Cherfilus-McCormick’s candidacy began to pick up steam.
Cherfilus-McCormick, who’d previously ran against Hastings for the Democratic nomination in 2018 and 2020, may be able to credit her success to her campaign platform. Seeking to ride the stimulus check wave of 2020-2021, Cherfilus-McCormick’s ‘People’s Prosperity Plan’ proposed $1,000 for every adult making less than $75,000 a year.
As the final results rolled in on Election Night 2021, Holness held a slim 12 vote lead. After a manual recount, however, Cherfilus-McCormick had the five vote advantage. Despite a legal challenge from Holness, which alleged that her stimulus plan amounted to bribery, her victory held. Subsequently, the wealthy Cherfilus-McCormick easily outspent her general election opponent over the past three months, leaving the final result in little doubt.
Tuesday’s election finally gives House Democrats their full 222 member caucus. The only remaining House vacancy is California’s 22nd District, where Republican Devin Nunes stepped down on January 1st.
State Legislative Races
The other notable aspect of the FL-20 race is that, thanks to Florida’s resign-to-run laws, the two State Reps and State Senator (Bobby DuBose, Omari Hardy and Perry Thurston) who lost left open seats that needed to be filled.
Rosalind Osgood won the Democratic primary for the 33rd State Senate seat, while Jervonte Edmonds got the nomination in the 88th State House district. No Republican filed in the 94th State House district, so Daryl Campbell will soon assume office. The other two general elections will be held on March 8th.
Finally, there were three more local races in other states. In Virginia, Democratic nominee Jackie Glass won the special election for the open 89th district. The Norfolk-based seat is a hold for the Dems. The Democrats also held a seat in Maine’s 27th district thanks to James Allen Boyle. Lastly, in Arkansas, Colby Fulfer won the GOP primary run-off for the 7th State Senate seat. That general election is set for February 8th.