Sen. Perry Thurston will gather with supporters Saturday as he officially kicks off his campaign for the Special Election in Florida’s 20th Congressional District.
Thurston announced his decision to enter the contest in mid-April. The late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings formerly held the CD 20 seat. Hastings — who was Florida’s longest-serving member of Congress at the time of his death — passed away in early April following a battle with cancer.
Thurston is part of a packed field of Democrats seeking the CD 20 nomination in an as-yet-unscheduled Special Election. His campaign kickoff event takes place Saturday, May 1 at 4 p.m. It will be hosted at Thurston’s campaign headquarters at 733 NW 6 St. in Fort Lauderdale.
“The event will feature longtime community supporters and district residents who are excited on the path forward for Sen. Thurston and his congressional campaign,” read a Friday release from the Thurston campaign.
Prior to his entry into the CD 20 race, Thurston was in line to take over as the 2022-24 Senate Democratic Leader. But the state’s resign-to-run law will require him to give up his Senate seat and, with it, his incoming leadership role.
That set off a dramatic chain reaction in the Senate Democratic caucus. Sen. Lauren Book of Plantation was chosen to replace Thurston in that role. But current Democratic Leader Gary Farmer complained about the process setting up the meeting to name Thurston’s successor. Senate Democrats then moved for a vote of no confidence in Farmer and ousted him during the final week of the 2021 Legislative Session, putting Book in charge ahead of schedule.
Thurston will now seek to emerge from a crowded pool of Democratic candidates in hopes of succeeding Hastings in the safe Democratic district. It’s unclear when a Special Election will take place, however. Gov. Ron DeSantis has the authority to set the dates for the Primary and General Election. Prior precedent shows Hastings’ seat will be filled by summer, though DeSantis could operate on his own timeline.