Satellite groups involved in final week of FL-20 special Democratic primary

Eleven candidates are running in the special Democratic primary for Florida’s 20th Congressional District. The special election on Jan. 11, 2022, will fill the vacancy left by Alcee Hastings (D), who died in April. Hastings had been in office since 1993. As of September, Inside Elections rated the special election Solid Democratic

Satellite groups got involved in the week leading up to the primary. The Florida Democratic Action PAC spent $102,000 on a cable ad supporting state Rep. Omari Hardy. The Democratic Majority for Israel PAC ran a newspaper ad criticizing Hardy. 314 Action Fund, a group that aims to get more scientists elected, aired an ad supporting Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, who has a background in nursing. Expenditure amounts weren’t available for the latter two ads.

The primary field includes three other current elected officials in addition to Hardy and Sharief: state Rep. Bobby DuBose, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, and state Sen. Perry Thurston.

The fundraising leader as of Oct. 13 was Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick with $3.8 million, $3.7 million of which she loaned her campaign. Cherfilus-McCormick ran against Hastings in the 2020 and 2018 Democratic primaries, receiving between 26% and 31% of the vote. She is CEO of Trinity Health Care Services. Sharief was second in fundraising with $895,000, including $756,000 she loaned her campaign.

So far, seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.