Fresh off winning the four-way Special Democratic Primary to represent House District 94, the new state Representative said he expects to be seated this Session — but that’s not what a House Democratic leader says.
Rep.-Elect Daryl Campbell said Wednesday that he has been told he’ll be sworn in and seated after the Florida Elections Canvassing Commission meets to certify his victory Jan. 25.
“I’m grateful to be in this position,” Campbell said. “I’m excited to be up in Tallahassee with my colleagues.”
Campbell said another Representative, who he didn’t want to identify, told him Speaker Chris Sprowls said Monday in response to a reporter’s question that the HD 94 winner would be seated after that commission’s certification. But a spokeswoman for the Speaker said that Campbell would be sworn in after the paperwork goes to another level — and she didn’t know when that would be.
“When the Secretary of State sends the House the certification letter identifying the winner of the election, then the Speaker will swear that person in as a Member of the Florida House,” Jenna Sarkissian wrote in a text.
Friday, the Secretary of State’s spokeswoman said that Campbell’s Primary Election victory would be certified on Jan. 25, but did not address if that would clear the way for him to be seated to serve in the Legislature.
Campbell won a winner-take-all Special Democratic Primary with 40% of the vote. Josephus Eggelletion III came in second, winning 29% of the vote. Elijah Manley garnered 25% of the 12,432 votes cast for Tuesday’s Primary. Rod Kemp trailed with nearly 6% of the vote.
Because no other parties had candidates for the seat, there was no need for a Special General Election. But that presents a wrinkle.
House Democratic Co-Leader Rep. Evan Jenne said it’s also his understanding that Campbell can’t be seated until the Secretary of State certifies the election results, and that’s not expected until after March 8, when the Special General Election would have been held if necessary. Jenne said he has been pushing for months for the winner in House District 94 Special Primary to be seated earlier.
Jenne said the possibility that Campbell won’t be seated this Session is an unfortunate consequence of the election dates that Gov. Ron DeSantis picked after three state lawmakers resigned to run for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who died in office last April after a long battle with cancer.
Campbell is in line to fill the unexpired term of Democratic Rep. Bobby DuBose, who lost his bid for Hastings’ seat. Campbell, a behavioral therapist and social worker, had served as an aide to DuBose.
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott on Wednesday called on Campbell to be seated immediately. Ballots from registered voters serving in the military overseas could come in during the next 10 days, but there aren’t enough of them in the district to overcome Campbell’s margin of victory, Scott said.
“The Speaker should allow the elected Representative to serve,” Scott wrote in an email Wednesday.
HD 94 covers parts of Fort Lauderdale, Plantation and Wilton Manors. The district’s boundaries, however, are subject to change because of the state’s decennial redistricting process after this election.