South Florida’s SD 33 and HD 88 will be unrepresented this Session
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Republican filings trigger March 8 Special General Elections for vacated seats three days before Session's end.

Republicans have filed for two vacant seats in Senate District 33 and House District 88, triggering March 8 Special General Elections, scheduled three days before the upcoming Session ends.

The filings mean the two majority Black, Democratic districts will be without representation for the upcoming Session.

The seats were vacated when Sen. Perry Thurston and Rep. Omari Hardy resigned to run for Florida’s 20th Congressional District, left open when U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings died in office April 6.

The news infuriated Don Mizell, who sued Gov. Ron DeSantis for not calling an election for months. It took 93 days — 12 days after Mizell filed suit — for DeSantis to announce the schedule for a Special Election to replace the lawmakers who resigned.

Rep. Bobby DeBose also resigned to run for the congressional seat, and, like his colleagues, was defeated by Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick in the Democratic Special Primary for CD 20 Nov. 2. As no Republican has filed for DuBose’s seat, the winner in the race will be chosen to represent House District 94 on the day of the Democratic Special Primary Jan. 11.

“I think it’s despicable, but not surprising,” said Mizell, a lawyer, on the prospect of a Special General Election on March 8 that effectively leaves 156,000 Palm Beach County residents without a Representative and 465,000 Broward County residents without a Senator.

“It’s how the Republicans play ball. They have the right, but that doesn’t make it right,” Mizell continued.

Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ spokeswoman, would not offer a reason for the delay. For 65 vacancies arising between 1999 and 2020, it took an average of 7.6 days for the Governor to call a Special Election, according to Mizell’s suit.

“All I know is that it is completely in line with Florida law,” she texted Florida Politics.

Mizell says he has a good idea what the reason is.

“It’s a more circuitous route to the same outcome, which is essentially to deprive the voters of the district the value of their vote in the upcoming Session, in which a lot of important legislation will be considered.”

Chief among them: Redistricting representative districts according to the 2020 Census, Mizell said.

Mizell said he doesn’t believe a Republican has a chance of winning in the overwhelmingly Democratic district. But Joseph Carter, who qualified as a Republican to run for Thurston’s Senate seat, said he is sincere. He has never run for office before.

“A lot of people know me already,” said the former Broward County public school teacher who is currently unemployed. He said he grew up in the district and named conditions in schools his chief motivation for running.

“At the end of the day, my goal is to help people in this community,” Carter said. “I’m not one of those people that’s more loyal to party than I would be to my constituents.”

He will face either Terry Ann Williams Edden or Rosalind Osgood, depending on who wins the Democratic Special Primary.

Guarina Torres of Delray Beach is the Republican running for Hardy’s seat in Palm Beach County. She will face either JervonteTaeEdmonds or ClarenceChiefWilliams in the Special General Election, depending on who wins the Democratic Primary.

“Ms. Torres is a passionate, deeply religious, conservative, a Latina mother of four wonderful adult children, and has an impressive resume as both an educator in the Palm Beach County school system and as a small business owner,” according to a news release her campaign manager released. She ran for House District 89 in 1996 as a Democrat, but said she changed her registration to Republican.

“I don’t think anyone can sit on the sidelines anymore especially when the country is headed the wrong way,” Torres said, explaining why she is running for office. “I strongly support DeSantis’ policies. We are one of the few states that is doing what needs to be done to protect not only Floridians, but the whole country.”

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]


6 comments

  • tom palmer

    November 22, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    No surpise. If there’s a way to monkeywrench, it will occur.

    Reply

  • PeterH

    November 22, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    Intentional discriminatory planning by our incompetent governor.

    …….and this deplorable wingnut wants to be president.

    Reply

  • BarbaraMartinek

    November 22, 2021 at 6:15 pm

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  • MARK JOHNSEN

    November 22, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    The dem operative the reporter chose to reach out to for comment conveniently ignored the fact that NO ONE forced, Thurston, DuBose & Hardy to vacate their seats! Those 3 foolishly entered the CD-20 Special Election as part of an 11 candidate field in a race that NONE OF THEM had ANY chance to win! Thankfully Florida has a very wise “Resign to Run Statute” unlike the dem controlled northeast states & those 3 Knew all about it before they vacated their seats. Its the dems unwisely pushing candidates into races that they cant win that are responsible for what happened here!
    All you dems, stop your whining! Isnt biden & harris doing a great job? Just look a the polls!

    Governor De Santis is the BEST Governor in the country & the Florida Statute on vacancies allows him to set Special Elections any time he wants! marxist dems would do the exact same thing if they were in power which I hope & pray never happens!

    Reply

    • Tom

      November 24, 2021 at 6:21 am

      Hooray, well said!
      Mark, the above are two liberal hand wringers. Peter h is affiliated with Lincoln Org. Shameful group, laughingstock front group for Dems.

      America’s Governor, Gov kahones he is. The people’s Governor. Repub. party is the party of blue collar, working class, middle class, more Hispanics, Asians are supporting the GOP. Bottom up party. This is making
      Dems crazy.

      Gov DeSantis makes a difference on all issues in people’s lives.
      DeSantis the best! America’s Gov.

      Reply

  • Lola Charlton

    November 24, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    she’s been laid off for two months, the previous month her paycheck was $20328 ONLY KJH working at home for a couple of hours each day… check out… WorkJoin1

    Reply

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