Meet Don Festge, Democrat running for Florida Senate District 38

Don Festge background

There are more than 300 candidates running for the 160 seats in the Florida House and Senate. And, try as we will, won’t be able to interview all of them. So we are asking every candidate, including incumbents, to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit thumbnail, sketch of who they are and why they are running.

If you are a candidate and would like to complete the questionnaire, email [email protected].

Today’s candidate spotlight features Don Festge, a Democrat running for Florida Senate District 38.

Significant other? Kids?

Mindy Grimes-Festge – met in seventh and eighth grade. First kiss: Jan. 19, 1985. Together since Jan. 22, 1985 (12th Grade) married 25 years. Three boys: Quinn 19, Riain 17, Sloan 13.

Education background? Professional background?

Played two years of college football Allen Hancock College, Catawba College, finished up at FIU. Degree in Business Administration-Marketing. Teacher for 25 years.

What was your first job?

Cutting trees and dragging branches.

In 25 words or less, why are you running for office?

I feel my community, my students and their parents need someone who truly cares about them. It’s about putting people first.

Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement? From whom?

Yes, Mark Pafford. Best friend since fifth grade. Scott Galvin, a friend since 10th grade.

Who do you count on for advice?

My wife.

Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?

Anthony Rychkov.

Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?

My former students. They believe in me.

Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?

Dwight Bullard.

Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?

Because many elected officials feel they are entitled. Support my community every day and expose those who do not.

What are three issues that you’re running on? (You’re not allowed to say education or “improving the schools”)

LGBT equality, poverty, income equality.

What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e., ride-sharing) you are interested in?


What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?

A person who truly cares about all the diverse communities in the district.

Who was the best governor in Florida’s modern history?

Bob Graham.

If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?

The Florida lottery money would have to be used for its intended purpose as a supplement to enhance educational programs.

Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?


What’s the first thing you read each morning?

My lessons plan for the day.

Where do you get your political news?

Online, radio, TV.

Who do you think will be the next President of the United States?

Hillary Clinton.

60 Minutes or House of Cards?

60 Minutes.

Social media presence? Twitter handle?

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat, Reddit — all @donfestge.

In 140 characters, what’s a tweet that best describes your campaign message?

No matter what you do in life, YOU matter. Live each day to make the life of another better.


Writing, building ponds.

Favorite sport and sports team?

Football, Miami Heat.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Jesse Scheckner, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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