Barbara Sharief might be taking on Lauren Book in the new SD 35
Image via AP.

After coming in third in a tight Primary contest for CD 20, Sharief is planning a return to public life.

Former Broward County Commissioner and ex-congressional candidate Barbara Sharief said she is strongly considering a race for Senate District 35, potentially setting up a primary challenge with Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book.

Sharief came in third in last fall’s Special Election for Congress. She was part of a crowded field of Democrats competing for the nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings.

Sharief said she’s leaning toward running for the state Senate seat instead of a rematch with Democratic U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Dale Holness, who are running in the regularly scheduled contest for the seat in Florida’s 20th Congressional District.

The current House-approved congressional map takes Sharief’s home — and the city she’s represented for 13 years — out of CD 20, she explained. But the reimagined SD 35 would include two cities that she’s represented for more than a decade — Miramar and Pembroke Pines. And she represented the other two cities in the district, Weston and Southwest Ranches, when she first started serving on the Broward County Commission in 2010.

The Senate district, she said, “would be a better chance for me to represent the people I’ve been representing for the past 13 years.”

That would put her up against Book, who announced her plans to move to SD 35 when redistricting put her in the same district as Democratic Sen.-elect Rosalind Osgood.

Sharief said she’s prepared to face Book. “This is my home district,” she said.

But Christian Ulvert, an adviser to Book, said a primary challenge against the Democratic Senate Leader would hurt Florida Democrats across the state. Book was unanimously elected to serve as a leader until 2024, he pointed out.

“She is a battle-tested, passionate advocate for our Democratic values,” Ulvert said. “She is well-positioned in her re-election campaign to continue to be a compassionate public servant for the residents of Broward County and a forceful leader for Senate Democrats as we gear up for the 2022 election cycle where her top recruits for battle-ground races are women … Any primary of an incumbent Leader would obviously be a major disservice for every competitive Senate Democratic race across the state.”

Sharief said she will make a final decision and file in April. She wouldn’t rule out jumping back into the congressional race if Miramar lands back into CD 20 when the new maps are finalized.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is threatening to veto the legislatively approved map that takes Miramar out of CD 20. The issue could be decided by a court challenge.

“If they put us back in (CD 20), it’s fair game,” Sharief said.

Sharief said she sees a chance to make a mark on issues she’s been championing long before they hit the headlines. In 2017, she went to Tallahassee as president of the Florida Association of Counties and called on the Legislature to stop raiding the state’s fund for affordable housing.

“My big issues have all revolved around small businesses, health care, creation of jobs and economic stability, which is all about housing grants and affordable housing,” she said.

One of 10 children, Sharief’s father was shot and killed when she was 14. She was soon helping to support her family. Sharief has lived in the area all her life, started her own company and became Broward County’s first Black female Mayor.

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].


  • Nick Ireland

    March 17, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    Lauren Book “battle tested”? She failed miserably, and Senate Democrats are dying under her inept “leadership.” Lauren Book represents her lobbyist dad’s special interests. Lauren Book fails to understand not every problem in legislature can be resolved by her obsession with passing more sex offender laws and offering new revelations of abuse in her personal life.

    Lauren Book will be defeated if Ms Sharief runs for her senate seat. Book has never had to run against anyone and she has a lousy track record as Senator. What has Senator Book accomplished besides sex offender laws and diaper tax breaks? She’s accomplished little else but padding her pockets with loads of taxpayer funds. That’s it.

    Pleas, Ms Shareif, relieve Florida taxpayers from the burden of Lauren Book’s ineptitude as Florida’s Senate Democrat leader.

    • Jerry Reaves

      March 19, 2022 at 1:45 pm

      Thank you Nick. We hope more convicted sex offenders concur with your well thought out comment.

  • Alfred

    March 19, 2022 at 7:03 am

    Book has never had an election. The seat was paid for. She has done nothing ever for the black community. For some reason I can’t picture her in the black churches Getting folks fired up.for ulvert to say she is battle tested is a joke. Practice praise Jesus Lauren your going need it!!!

  • RonDeSantisStinks

    March 21, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    As a Democrat, I’m really not a fan of Book. Farmer was a better leader, in my opinion.

Comments are closed.


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