Republican candidate Greg Musselwhite says he’ll seek the seat formerly held by U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who passed away Tuesday following a battle with cancer.
A Special Election will be held to determine Hastings’ successor. Gov. Ron DeSantis will determine the date of that election, though past precedent would show a summer date for the Special Election is likely.
Musselwhite will join the Special Election after competing against Hastings in the 2020 General Election for Florida’s 20th Congressional District. The district leans heavily Democratic, and Hastings secured nearly 79% of the vote against Musselwhite. Democrat Joe Biden won 77% of the vote in CD 20 last cycle. In 2016, then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won just under 80%.
That means Musselwhite will again be the heavy underdog in the ensuing Special Election. In announcing his candidacy Wednesday, Musselwhite extended his condolence to Hastings’ family while issuing a brief statement of the Congressman.
“There were issues we agreed upon,” Musselwhite said, adding, “there were also important differences.”
Musselwhite will run in the deep-blue district with the campaign slogan, “Get on the BOAT, Building Our America Together.”
Still, the eventual Democratic nominee will certainly be the favorite in the General Election. Prior to Hastings’ death, Democrats Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Barbara Sharief both filed to run in CD 20. Cherfilus-McCormick also ran unsuccessfully against Hastings last cycle in the Democratic Primary. Sharief declared for CD 20 as she faces term limits for her seat on the Broward County Commission.
Hastings was the longest-serving member of the Florida congressional delegation prior to his death. Hastings first won election to the U.S. House nearly 30 years ago in 1992. Hastings announced his cancer diagnosis in early 2019.
Florida’s 20th Congressional District stretches across Broward County to Palm Beach County. It spans several majority-Black areas near major cities such as Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.