Fentrice Driskell heads into re-election with confidence

driskell bonano
Driskell will be the first Black woman to lead House Democrats if she is re-elected.

Florida House Democratic Leader-designate Fentrice Driskell can likely head into her re-election bid with confidence, as she faces Republican newcomer Lisette Bonano for North Tampa House District 67 — an overwhelmingly blue seat.

In May, Driskell was unanimously elected to lead House Democrats for the 2022-24 term. Driskell, a lawyer, will be the first Black woman to lead the Caucus if she is re-elected.

Driskell was first elected to the House in 2018, defeating then-incumbent Republican Shawn Harrison by 7 points. She has since held on to the seat with ease, running unopposed in 2020.

Bonano, an Army veteran who considers herself a “constitutional conservative,” filed to run against Driskell last November, launching her campaign to promote traditionally conservative platforms in hopes of unseating Driskell, a progressive Democrat,

Even though she got a head-start on the campaign trail, Bonano is up against an uphill battle against Driskell in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 15,000 voters. According to L2 voter data, the district is composed of 40,559 Democrats (41% of the electorate), 25,620 Republicans (26%) and 32,979 nonpartisan or third-party voters (33%).

The northern Hillsborough County district, which was formerly House District 63, also showed its Democratic lean in 2020, where 59% of the district went to President Joe Biden, and only 39% voted for former President Donald Trump.

And that advantage is reflected in fundraising.

The incoming Democratic leader has amassed $504,835 between her campaign and affiliated political committee, How We All Win. Bonano, on the other hand, has only collected $15,217 — including a $10,000 donation from the Florida Republican Party back in September.

Democrats are betting on a win for Driskell — after all, she is the third member to be named Democratic Leader-designate in the next Legislature.

Driskell stepped into the role amid a transitional period for House Democrats, less than six months away from what was expected to be a difficult Election Day.

Democrats elected her in a vote called to replace Rep. Ramon Alexander, a Tallahassee Democrat who was in line to lead the caucus during the 2022-24 term until he scrapped his House re-election bid amid sexual harassment allegations. Alexander had been elected to replace St. Petersburg Rep. Ben Diamond, who dropped his House re-election bid to run for Congress before withdrawing his candidacy amid an unfavorable redistricting plan.

Over a year ago, Democrats elected Driskell as caucus leader for the 2024-26 term, giving her an opportunity to lead the House minority for four years.

But it won’t be until Nov. 8 when Florida finds out if Driskell will officially carry on the torch.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


3 comments

  • Boaz

    November 6, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    She should win handily, for the Governor and the Florida Legislature gerrymandered her new legislative district to afford her, the newly chosen leader of Florida’s House Black Caucus, a decisive advantage. Governor DeSantis and she are both Harvard alumni.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    November 7, 2022 at 7:25 am

    I have yet to get one email, mailer, etc from her in all the time she has been my Rep. SMH

  • Timmie

    November 7, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    Let’s hope Bonano wins. Her values are much more aligned with a solution to what is wrong in our country right now!

Comments are closed.


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