Democrat Carol Lawrence, a real estate agent and lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for the Florida House of Representatives in 2018, has filed for another try in House District 27.
Lawrence, 77, of DeBary, is the first Democrat into a race that this time is for an open seat, since Republican state Rep. David Santiago of Deltona is term-limited and won’t be seeking another term in 2020.
“As far as I’m concerned, there is unfinished business from last year. And from years before,” Lawrence said.
She’s entering a race that has three Republicans, former Deltona City Commissioners Zenaida Denizac and Webster Barnaby, and DeBary Vice Mayor Erika Benfield.
HD 27 covers much of southwestern Volusia County. In the 2018 election the district had just a 1 percent Republican advantage in voter registration, but has voted strongly Republican in almost all recent elections.
“We’re going to work very hard to turn out as many voters as possible to put the seat in Democratic hands,” Lawrence vowed.
Last year, Lawrence raised about $7,700 and put $38,000 of her own money into her campaign, and spent $45,000 on the race. Santiago outspent her by a ratio of more than five to one, and defeated her 56-44 in the general election.
Lawrence is a former lobbyist for Miami-Dade County, though that was many decades ago, before she entered the real estate profession. She’s now a 40-year resident of Volusia County.
She offers campaign planks to pursue affordable housing, public education, higher pay for teachers, and ethics in government. She also expresses a deep passion for environmental issues.
That passion runs from local issues within HD 27, where ground water protection and the springs are paramount, to statewide issues. She calls herself an “island child” because she was born on Boca Grande, a key off the coast of Cape Coral, and expressed deep concern for issues ranging from expansion and preservation of conservation lands to climate change and sea level rise.
“I want to leave a legacy. I am a native of this state … and it pains me to see what is happening. It’s like people aren’t paying attention. They will be in the next ten years or so. If I can be a voice for that, that’s what I want to do,” Lawrence said.