Dale Holness emerges as fundraising heavyweight in crowded HD 20 race

Others have bigger coffers, but they're infusing their own money.

Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness has raised $305,000 from donors in his bid to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings.

That makes Holness, a three-term Commissioner, one of the leading fundraisers in a crowded field vying to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District. Other candidates report bigger coffers. But a good chunk of those hauls include significant infusions of the candidates’ own money. Holness, a Democrat, has $268,000 cash on hand without any loans to his campaign, according to official filings due Thursday.

Holness served as Broward County Mayor as the region reeled from the COVID-19 epidemic. All the money he has raised comes from individual donors. Among the 165 donors to the campaign, 109 of them gave $1,000 or less, including the late Congressman’s son, Alcee Hastings II. He gave $500.

Seven individuals gave the $5,800 maximum allowed in a Special Election for Congress, including Miles Forman of Davie, president of American Marketing and Management. Holness also won the support of Matthew Caldwell, president and CEO of the National Hockey League team, the Florida Panthers, who gave $1,000. Tamarac Commissioner Mike Gelin gave the campaign $1,000 as did Miramar Commissioner Yvette Colbourne.

The outcome of this race will likely be determined in the Primary Election on Nov. 2.  The area leans heavily Democratic.

Twenty candidates have announced their bids for Hastings’ seat, including sitting Democratic Sen. Perry Thurston, and Reps. Bobby DuBose and Omari Hardy. Holness’ colleague on the Broward County Commission Barbara Sharief, also a Democrat, is in the running also.

The campaign finance reports from DuBose and Hardy have not been reported on the federal elections site yet. The Thurston campaign reports $282,000 in contributions for this quarter, including $100,500 of the candidate’s money. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormic, CEO of Trinity Health Care Services, said she has collected $100,000 from donors and loaned her campaign $2.3 million.

The congressional district straddles Broward and Palm Beach counties. It includes several majority-Black areas close to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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