A three-way Democratic Primary race for an open House seat in central Broward County has two candidates neck-and-neck in raising money from donors.
Three-time candidate Saima Farooqui filed to represent House District 97 the same week as the June qualifying deadline. Kelly Scurry, a first-time candidate, filed for the office on the last day to qualify. They’ll be competing with Lisa Dunkley, who hasn’t been elected before either.
They will be competing on Aug. 23 to fill the seat vacated when Rep. Anika Omphroy filed to run to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District.
So far, Scurry, a lawyer, is leading. He’s raised $19,034 for his campaign through July 15, including $6,500 in contributions from the candidate. Scurry is leading Farooqui by $3,085 when counting outside donations. Dunkley trails, with $6,260 raised since she filed in April.
Scurry’s donor list shows he’s running a grassroots campaign, with 69 of his 97 transactions for $100 or less. Notable donors include Sen. Rosalind Osgood, giving $250; Reina Saco, a Gainesville City Commissioner, giving $75; and Andrew Dolberg, campaign manager for Jared Moskowitz’s campaign for Congress, giving $200.
Lisa Scurry-Bolden of Fayetteville, Georgia is the only other person who gave Scurry the maximum allowed for an individual donation.
So far, besides his qualifying fee, most of the $4,663 Scurry has spent went toward $1,675 in yard signs with Mark Graphics of Boca Raton and nearly $1,000 in photography with Jai Simone Photography in North Lauderdale.
Farooqui, meanwhile, has drawn $1,000 donations from Patricia Duaybes, a former candidate for Coconut Creek City Commission, and a business owner; Zahid Qureshi of Lighthouse Point, a physician; Muhammad Farooqui, of Coconut Creek, who works in sales; and Abdul Khanani, a Hialeah business owner.
She hasn’t spent much beyond her campaign filing fee and some incidentals.
Farooqui would have been the first Muslim elected to the Legislature when she ran in 2018, but she lost that contest to Rep. Kristin Jacobs. In 2020, she ran against Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, and lost. In the meantime, Rep. Christopher Benjamin, who represents House District 107, became the first Muslim elected to the Florida Legislature in 2020.
So Farooqui could become the first Muslim woman to become a state lawmaker.
The district is roughly bounded by North Lauderdale to the north, Lauderhill to the south, Pine Island Road to the west and North West 31st Avenue to the east.