Allen Ellison shifts from Senate bid to CD 23 campaign

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The Sebring Democrat had been the first challenger filed against Marco Rubio.

Sebring Democrat Allen Ellison suspended his Senate campaign and will instead run to succeed Rep. Ted Deutch in Congress.

“After one year and six months of campaigning across the State of Florida and building a national grassroots movement to retire Senator Marco Rubio, I have decided to suspend my bid for the U.S. Senate,” Ellison wrote in a letter to supporters.

Ellison in late 2020 launched his Senate campaign, the first Democrat to do so this campaign cycle. But following Rep. Val Demings’ entry into the race, interest has gravitated around the Orlando Democrat.

But Ellison’s time on the trail won’t be for naught. He’s shifted his candidacy to Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. “I humbly ask for your continued support in this new path forward,” he wrote.

At the close of the quarter, Ellison had raised $171,607 for his Senate bid, though he’d burned through much of that. He started April with $2,947 cash on hand and it’s unclear what he raised since then. His federal campaign account can come with him.

He’s also built a Twitter following of 142,000 over his Senate run and two prior runs for Congress. He also hopes some goodwill transfers to his new campaign.

“Our movement build a volunteer base of thousands of change agents from around the county who helped businesses get established, helped to secure (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) Grant funding for thousands of businesses, repaired roofs for home owners in need, got hot water heaters for homes, got drug treatment programs paid for, stopped the eviction process for families in Florida and secured tents for homeless Americans,” he wrote.

“Helping people is what I do and it’s a blessing to be surrounded by supporters who share a vision of helping the most people possible. We will continue to fight for Floridians and we will continue to be a force for improving the quality of life for everyone.”

Ellison twice challenged Rep. Greg Steube in Florida’s 17th Congressional District. The first time, he stepped in as a replacement nominee after the unexpected death of Democratic candidate April Freeman in 2018, when the seat was open. Ellison launched a full campaign to challenge Steube’s re-election in 2020.

While a resident of the district in both those races, CD 17 always leaned heavily Republican. This marks Ellison’s first campaign in a Democrat-favored seat. About 56.18% of voters in CD 23 voted for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election, while just 43.05% favored Republican Donald Trump.

But he’s gone from early entry for Senate to a late-comer in running to succeed Deutch, who announced his retirement from Congress at the close of this term. Six Democrats last week qualified for the open seat. That includes Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz and Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Ben Sorensen, as well as Michaelangelo Collins Hamilton, Hava Holzhauer and Mike Trout.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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