SEIU Florida endorses Dale Holness in crowded race to replace Alcee Hastings

Holness
Holness is one of 11 Democrats who qualified for the CD 20 contest.

The Florida chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is backing Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness as he pursues the seat in Florida’s 20th Congressional District.

Holness is competing in a crowded Democratic Primary for the chance to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings who passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer. Holness was one of 11 Democrats who qualified for the race earlier this month. Add Republican and third-party candidates, and 17 people are running in the Special Election to replace Hastings.

SEIU Florida is one of the state’s largest unions, making the endorsement a significant get in the Democratic Primary. The organization represents more than 55,000 active and retired workers in the state.

“As a nurse, I know how important it is to have leaders in Washington who will protect South Floridians during this historic pandemic and on all issues,” said Pat Diaz, a member of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, in a statement Monday.

“Commissioner Holness has proven he is on the side of working families and everyday Floridians, and that he will work to best serve our needs.”

Holness is battling several other sitting lawmakers who are giving up their current positions to pursue the CD 20 seat. That includes state Sen. Perry Thurston, state Reps. Bobby DuBose and Omari Hardy, and fellow Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Elvin Dowling, Phil Jackson, Emmanuel Morel, Imran Siddiqui and Priscilla Ann Taylor have also qualified in the Democratic Primary.

The Primary Election is scheduled for Nov. 2, with the General Election taking place on Jan. 11. Jason Mariner and Greg Musselwhite will battle for the Republican nomination. Mike ter Maat is running as a Libertarian candidate. Jim Flynn and Leonard Serratore are listed as non-party affiliated candidates, while Shelley Fain will compete as a write-in candidate.

But the winner of the Democratic nomination will be the heavy favorite come January. According to the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index, CD 20 leans Democratic by 28 percentage points. The district spans Broward and Palm Beach counties, crossing several majority-Black areas near major cities such as Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

That makes the Democratic Primary Election the race to watch, and major endorsements like Monday’s announcement from SEIU Florida could help voters decide among a jam-packed field.

“Before Commissioner Dale Holness helped pass a living wage for thousands of Fort Lauderdale airport workers, I was earning $8 an hour and had to work 3 jobs to support my family,” added Gueldere Guerilis, a Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Wheelchair Attendant and 32BJ SEIU member.

“Dale Holness stood by us the whole time, fighting for dignity, justice and a fair wage for working families in Broward County. We have no doubt he’s going to take that same fight and commitment to working people to Washington D.C. and that is why we proudly endorse Dale V.C. Holness for Congress.”

In addition to Monday’s announcement, Holness was also the top fundraiser in the field last quarter. A recent poll from a left-leaning group showed a large portion of the electorate remains undecided with a few months remaining until the Primary Election.

Monday’s announcement from SEIU Florida included several other endorsements in local races. The organization is backing Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian in their respective reelection bids. The group is also supporting Raquel Pacheco, who’s running for a separate Miami Beach Commission seat, and Christine King, who is competing for a Miami City Commission seat.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


2 comments

  • Zaki

    August 16, 2021 at 8:53 pm

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  • Frankie Peters

    August 17, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    I see the Democrats picked another Communists to lead them.

Comments are closed.


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