Democrat Chervilus McCormick wins the special election for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives

Democrat Chervilus McCormick wins the special election for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives

Tallahassee, Florida – Healthcare CEO Sheila Chervilus-McCormick was elected to the seat of late Florida Democratic Representative Alice Hastings on Tuesday, bolstering the Democrats’ weak majority in the House of Representatives.

Cherfilus-McCormick defeated Republican Jason Mariner in the 20th congressional district, and is a staunch Democrat. Hastings was the longest-serving member of the Florida delegation before he died in April of pancreatic cancer.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 5-1 in an area that includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The turnout in the elections was light and is expected to range between 12% and 14%. Less than 9% of voters cast ballots by mail and in early in-person polling, with Democrats casting six times more than Republicans.

Regaining Hastings’ seat would increase the Democrats’ slim majority in the House to 222-212, leaving room for no more than four defections from the Democratic Party as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempts to move her party’s bills through the House. For most of 2021, this margin was three.

However, a win would make little difference, for the Democrats’ $2 trillion Social and Environmental bill, which is now stalled in the evenly divided Senate due to the objections of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The package was rejected unanimously by Republicans.

There’s another vacancy in the House of Representatives: California Republican Representative Devin Nunes left office last week to join a media company run by former President Donald Trump.

Cherfilus-McCormick’s victory represented a stark contrast to the November primary, when she defeated 10 other Democrats by just 5 votes, or less than 24%.

She will have to defend the seat immediately in the August primary, and if she wins the general election in November. Runner-up sued Cherfilus-McCormick in the November primary, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holnes, to try to invalidate the election results. He also plans to run in the primaries in August.

Demographics worked for Cherfilus-McCormick on Tuesday. She is the black daughter of Haitian immigrants. About half of the district’s voters are black, as opposed to about 21% who are white. White mariner.

Cherfilus-McCormick also had a huge financial advantage. She loaned her campaign nearly $6 million, though she paid herself $2 million. However, by late December, she had $1.3 million in her campaign account, compared to less than $24,000 for Mariner.

Mariner is the owner of an advertising company that pays drivers to place ads on their cars. He served two prison sentences totaling nearly two years. He was last released in 2013 after being convicted of drug and theft, according to the Department of Corrections.

Mariner’s campaign website said he overcame drug addiction and co-founded a detox and drug detox facility.

While some people questioned whether Mariner could run for office because of criminal convictions, voters in Florida passed a constitutional amendment giving criminals the right to vote. The law implementing the amendment stipulated that all court fees, fines, and damages must be paid before voting rights are restored.

Wendy Sartori Link, the Palm Beach County election supervisor, said that when Mariner registered to vote, he identified a box saying he had previously been convicted of a felony, but that his voting rights had been restored.

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