Barbie Harden Hall hopes to flip Daniel Webster’s seat blue

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The Mount Dora Democrat worked to raise awareness of rare diseases after her son's death.

Mount Dora mom Barbie Harden Hall has announced a challenge against U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster. The Democrat hopes to flip a Republican stronghold blue.

The Central Florida paralegal became involved in policy after her son, Everett, was diagnosed in late 2021 with metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD). It claimed the 2-year-old’s life in May 2022 about six months after the initial diagnosis, due to complications from a cord blood stem cell transplant.

She has since become active promoting awareness of MLD and other rare diseases impacting children. Now, she’s doing so by running for Congress

“Are you ready for the craziest thing I have ever done?” Hall said in a campaign announcement this week. “If you have ever wondered how far a mother will go to fight for the health, well-being and lives of not only my children, but others who are suffering and struggling like we have, then the answer just might be to run for federal office.”

Hall, a graduate of Mount Dora Christian Academy, has lived in Central Florida most of her life. She married her husband, Ryan, in 2014 and the couple has since had four children, including Everett. They own and operate Hall Outdoor Services.

Last year, she attended Rare Diseases Week on Capitol Hill, when parents met with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. But she was frustrated when her own lawmaker, Webster, did not schedule time for himself or staff to meet with advocates.

Participating in a Rare Across America lobbying effort later in the year, she also could not get a Zoom call with the lawmaker. Her colleagues did have a teleconference meeting with U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, a Democrat representing a neighboring district.

The millennial mother decided to run for office and model her career more after Frost than Webster.

“You tell a mom that a seat at the table is only available for those that can provide a benefit, but not grieving parents and children just needing help, then be prepared to watch her fight,” she said.

“I’m ready and prepared to do the work that Mr. Webster does not believe is necessary. It is time to work for the people who need it, and not work for our own self interests. I am ready to do that. I am ready to listen to the issues you are facing, and not just what we are told by political pundits that we must be afraid of.”

Webster notably already faces a significant Primary challenge from Lake County Republican Party Chair Anthony Sabatini, though Hall also decried the local lawyer as a career politician. She referenced the nickname “Absentini,” used by opponents during Sabatini’s 2022 run for Congress based on his absentee record in the Legislature.

“He would make you believe that he is not a career politician but his history of either holding public office or running for public office since he left college would prove otherwise,” Hall said.

Webster also faces Republican John McCloy.

She’s the only Democrat to file for Florida’s 11th Congressional District with the Federal Election Commission to date. Christopher Alcantara, a no-party candidate who briefly ran as a Republican last cycle, also has filed.

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].


4 comments

  • MH/Duuuval

    January 13, 2024 at 8:33 pm

    Good luck to the challenger! Ol’ Daniel Webster has been a shill throughout his lengthy career in service to the reactionary element and Big Business.

  • tom palmer

    January 15, 2024 at 9:30 am

    Webster has been a good public servant. He will be re-elected.

    • Barbie Harden Hall

      January 15, 2024 at 8:22 pm

      Webster has been paid $2 million salary as a U.S. Representative only to pass one piece of legislation, introduce barely anything each year, and miss twice as many votes as other legislators. Constituents are sending him to D.C. to do nothing, especially not for the District. He’s reaping all of the benefits of being a politician while repaying the people with the minimum amount of work possible.

  • tom palmer

    January 16, 2024 at 4:16 pm

    I would say his strength may be in constituent service. Not filing bills is not necessarily a bad thing.

Comments are closed.


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