Patricia Hawkins-Williams fundraising almost even with challenger in bid for fourth term

Rival Carmen Jones has run for other seats before, but is looking for a first win.

Rep. Patricia Hawkins-Williams is needing to work this cycle as she pursues a fourth House term.

Her rival, Democrat Carmen Jones, raised a whisper more money than the incumbent for this campaign — $66 more than the $4,150 Hawkins-Williams has raised since June. And Hawkins-Williams has yet to tap much of the $28,253 in her campaign account to get re-elected in renumbered House District 98. The district covers the area roughly bounded by Interstate 95 and Florida’s Turnpike, from Oakland Park to the Broward-Palm Beach line.

But Hawkins-Williams earned free media that’s arguably priceless in a Primary likely to have low turnout: the endorsement from the Sun-Sentinel.

The editorial lauded her longtime experience that’s likely to be in short supply in the Democratic House Caucus for the upcoming Session.

This majority-minority district has pockets of extreme poverty, is overwhelmingly Democratic and it demands an experienced voice in Tallahassee,” her endorsement reads. “That voice belongs to Rep. Patricia Hawkins-Williams.”

Since there’s no Republican filed to run in this district, voting in this is open to all registered voters in the district and the winner of Tuesday’s contest goes to Tallahassee.

Hawkins-Williams’ competitor retired from Boca Raton Regional Hospital as a payroll and billing supervisor after 27 years filling different roles. Jones ran for Broward County Commission in 2014 and for Pompano Beach City Commission in 2018 and 2020. She is currently serving on the Housing Authority of Pompano Beach, having been reappointed to the role in 2020.

Hawkins-Williams’ interview with the Sun-Sentinel editorial board, which Jones did not take part in, provided a sneak peek about what goes on behind closed doors, suggesting that Republicans feel forced to adhere to a playbook they’d rather not.

“I have friends on both sides of the aisle and secretly, some of the Republican members will have a private conversation with me and say, like, ‘We know that was wrong for that bill to be passed,’” she said.

The low point of last Session, she said, was with the passing of the so-called “anti-woke” legislation, or the Individual Freedom Act (HB 7) that expands the anti-discrimination laws so it’s forbidden to level guilt or blame based on race, gender or national origin. Federal Judge Mark Walker temporarily blocked enforcement of parts of the law Thursday in response to lawsuits against it.

Hawkins-Williams said the legislation is trying to erase her experience.

“My parents fought for me to have the ability to sit at a table with certain people,” Hawkins-Williams said. “Why should I not want my family, my children that’s coming after me to know the struggle?”

Hawkins-Williams also puts better tracking of foster children as one of her chief priorities.

Jones’ website lists seniors, housing and education as her top priorities.

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].


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