The race for Alcee Hastings congressional seat is heating up. Hastings died of pancreatic cancer in April while serving in Florida’s 20th Congressional District, and 10 democratic candidates are eyeing the seat. The district is a large black and minority community within Broward and Palm Beach Counties, including Royal Palm Beach, Belle Glade, North Lauderdale, Plantation, parts of Pompano Beach, Delray Beach and West Palm Beach. All registered and eligible voters are encouraged to vote on November 2 in the primary election. The 20th Congressional District is heavily democratic and whichever candidate wins the primary is likely to win the special election on January 11, 2022.
Bobby DuBose, 50, represents District 94 in the Florida House of Representatives serving Plantation, Lauderdale Lakes and parts of Oakland Park. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful committees which is tasked with spending the government’s money. He is a married father of four and the former vice mayor of the City of Fort Lauderdale. He graduated from the University of Florida, and is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Endorsed by U.S. Rep Nikema Williams (D-Ga.), State Rep. Evan Jenne (D), State Rep. Kevin Chambliss (D), State Rep. Dan Daley (D), and State Rep Tracie Davis (D).
Omari Hardy, 31, represents District 88 in the Florida House of Representatives serving Riviera Beach to Delray Beach. He is currently on the State Affairs Committee. He studied economics at the University of Miami and assumed office November 2020. Before that he was a City of Lake Worth Commissioner. He made headlines when he objected to shutting off electricity to residents behind on their bills early on during the coronavirus pandemic. He’s been endorsed by the Sun Sentinel Newspaper, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, State Reps Anna Eskamani (D), Travaris McCurdy (D), and Carlos Guillermo Smith.
Dale Holness, 64, is a Broward County Commissioner who will forgo his seat in order to make a run for Congress. In 2010, Holness said he received a verbal endorsement from Hastings to fill the county commission seat. Holness serves District 9, which includes Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes, Plantation, Sunrise, Tamarac and more within central Broward County. Prior to his county seat, in 2004, he served as City of Lauderhill commissioner. He is a real estate agent and mortgage broker, who pushes for small business contracts, homeownership, tourism, criminal justice reform, job creation and training. He’s been endorsed by SEIU Florida, State Rep. Marie Woodson, three city mayors, 13 city commissioners, and Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony.
Emmanuel Morel, 58, is a retired government employee. He’s running on a platform of increasing the minimum wage to $15 and expanding the Medicare program. He wants to strengthen unions and better conditions for farmers, as well as get reparations for Black people, legalizing cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, and student loan forgiveness. He has a bachelor’s in accounting and served as a member of President Obama’s Commission on Human Trafficking, and as a federal investigator with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Sheila McCormick, 41, ran against Alcee Hasting’s twice in previous primaries, once in 2018 where she secured 26% of the vote, and again in 2020, securing 31% of the vote. Her campaign was based on economic initiatives, job skills and training, and healthcare coverage. McCormick received her J.D. from St. Thomas University School of Law in 2010. She is also the CEO of Trinity HealthCare Services in Miramar, a home health company with over 500 employees. She is married with two children. She made headlines by spending more than $2 million in personal funds for her campaign. She also promises $1,000 monthly payments for families that make under $75,000 a year under the People’s Prosperity Plan if she’s elected. She’s been endorsed by local chapter of Communications Workers of America and Brand New Congress.
Barbara Sharief, 49, is a Broward County Commissioner who will forgo her seat to run for Hasting’s congressional seat. She represents District 8, which includes Miramar, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, and West Park. In 2013, she made history as the first Black mayor of Broward County. A few years before that in 2009, she was elected the vice mayor of the City of Miramar. She is a mother to three children, and a businesswoman. She founded South Florida Pediatric Homecare Inc., a home health care agency for adults and children in 2001. She received her Doctor of Nursing in 2017. Her top priorities are affordable healthcare, homelessness solutions, small business and mentoring programs, and foreclosure relief. She’s endorsed by Elect Democratic Women, Women United for Florida’s Families, Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (D), four county commissioners, eight mayors, and eight city commissioners.
Priscilla Taylor, 71, is a former state legislator and the first Black female mayor of Palm Beach County (2013-2014). From 2004 to 2010, she represented District 84 for the Florida House of Representatives, which includes Fort Pierce and parts of Port St. Lucie. She has years of experience in the insurance industry and has degrees from Barry University and Palm Beach Atlantic University. Taylor was a twice-elected member of the Commission of the Port of Palm Beach. During her tenure as Port Commissioner, she served as Chairwoman in both 2001 and 2003. She is divorced with two children.
Perry Thurston, 60, represents District 33 for the Florida Senate. This area includes Pompano Beach, North Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Tamarac, and other surrounding areas. He was elected to the Senate in 2016. Prior to that, he served on the House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014. He was born in Pompano Beach and attends Mount Calvary Baptist Church and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He studied undergrad at Morehouse College and graduated from University of Miami School of Law in 1987. He’s been endorsed by AFL-CIO, State Senators Lauren Book (D), Janet Cruz (D), Gary Farmer (D), Audrey Gibson (D), Darryl Rouson (D), Annette Taddeo (D), and Victor Torres (D), Broward County Mayor Steve Geller, two city mayors, two city commissioners, West Palm Beach County Commissioner Maria Sachs, Broward Teachers Union, Florida Education Association, and the National Education Association.
Phil Jackson, Elvin Dowling, and Imran Siddiqui are also running for the race.