Rep. Patricia Hawkins-Williams is running for the Florida Senate.
Hawkins-Williams, a Pompano Beach Democrat, said Monday that she has decided to forgo running for a fourth and final term in the Florida House to instead seek a seat in the state’s other legislative chamber.
She cited her experience, willingness to reach across the aisle and knowledge of how the political process in Tallahassee works as boons to her candidacy, which will either be for Senate District 33 or Senate District 34, depending on redistricting now underway.
“This took a lot of thought and prayer for me to decide,” she told Florida Politics. “I have another two years if I stay in (House District 92). But right now, we need someone in the Senate that has a relationship with the Republican Party, has the savviness and know-how to get things done and won’t come up saying, ‘I know this and I know that.’”
She added, “We need to all work together right now, because Broward is in a pickle, and they need someone who can work with all parties.”
Rather than enter a Special Election — like the ones being held Tuesday for SD 33, HD 88 and HD 99 — Hawkins-Williams intends to remain in the House until the end of her term in November.
Doing anything else, she said, would be a disservice to her constituents.
“The voters voted me in, and it’s my job as their state Representative to stay in my seat and represent them to the best of my ability,” she said.
Hawkins-Williams, a foster parent agency director who got her political start as a Lauderdale Lakes City Commissioner, has turned in progressively more commanding campaign performances since she first won state office in 2016.
Most recently, she earned more than 82% of the vote in the 2020 General Election, when she defeated non-party affiliated candidate Nancy St. Claire.
HD 92 covers a landlocked portion of Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach and parts of Lauderdale Lakes and Oakland Park.
The Florida Division of Elections currently lists her as running in SD 33, which Democratic Sen. Perry Thurston represented until he resigned to run for Congress in July. However, two of four redistricting maps under consideration place her in SD 34, where she would face incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer Jr.
She holds more than $53,000 between her campaign and the political committee she chairs, Florida Women in Action. That’s less than Farmer holds between his campaign and PC.
Regardless of whom she ends up facing, Hawkins-Williams said she’ll need to ramp up fundraising but has no intention of changing her ground-level approach to campaigning.
“I will have to be a lot more aggressive to raise money, because I’ll have a larger area to cover,” she said. “But I’m a firm believer that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. We’ll continue to work as the team we started as and will get people to join us who can get behind a true person who is connected to the people, not just someone coming in overnight.”