Bryan Beckman to challenge Kim Berfield in HD 58 following his wife’s Clearwater Mayor defeat
Image via Bryan Beckman

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Beckman is trying to flip a red district. It won't be easy.

Bryan Beckman, a Democrat, has filed to run against Republican Rep. Kim Berfield in the House District 58 seat she currently holds.

His filing May 17 comes after his wife, Kathleen Beckman, lost her bid for Clearwater Mayor. Bryan Beckman served as his wife’s Campaign Manager in that race.

Bryan Beckman is the Executive Committee Chair for the Florida Suncoast Sierra Club, a group that advocates for environmentally friendly policy that works to curb climate change and support sustainability and resilience. He’s also a member of the group’s Ready for 100 board, which seeks to transition communities to 100% clean energy.

Beckman attacked the current makeup of the legislature in his campaign announcement, hinting at a GOP super-majority he says is harming Floridians.

“We need Representatives who focus on families, lowering their everyday costs, and preserving our freedoms,” he said. “Our current Representative focuses on the priorities of big corporation lobbyists and her friends in Tallahassee.”

“Insurance, housing, and healthcare costs are out of control in Pinellas and Florida,” Beckman added. “Women’s reproductive freedoms are being taken away.  Florida is last in the nation in paying our teachers.  Our state is not adequately addressing rising temperatures, flooding in our neighborhoods, or pollution.”

Beckman will have a challenging road ahead to flip the seat. Republicans control nearly 38% of the electorate in the North Pinellas-based seat, compared to less than 30% for Democrats, according to the most recent L2 voter data.

And he’ll also have a money hurdle to overcome. Berfield has raised more than $123,000 since early 2023 and retains about $90,000 of that in her campaign account. Further, she has another $137,000 available in her affiliated political committee, Friends of Kim Berfield. 

Until Beckman’s entrance into the race, Berfield had been unopposed.

But Bryan Beckman has experience navigating partisan battles. His wife’s race in Clearwater took a markedly partisan tone, despite being a race for a nonpartisan seat. Kathleen Beckman lost to Bruce Rector, a Republican who secured nearly 63% of the vote in March.

Rector surged in the race largely buoyed by endorsements from former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, interim Mayor Brian Aungst Sr., whom Rector replaced, and about a dozen other conservative backers.

Those backers are likely to stick by Berfield in her now contested race.

“Earlier this year voters in Clearwater overwhelmingly rejected Kathleen Beckman for being too liberal. There is no question her husband Bryan is more liberal than she is,” said Pinellas County Commissioner and former Rep. Chris Latvala, who played a heavy role in Clearwater races this year and is working with Berfield on her campaign.

“I suspect when votes are tallied in November, they will be very similar to the Beckmans’ numbers in March.”

Beckman has not yet filed any campaign finance documents, having just entered the race last week. But if work on his wife’s campaign is any indication he may be competitive on the money side. Kathleen Beckman outraised Rector in her race with nearly $148,000 brought in, compared to nearly $133,000 for Rector.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 28, 2024 at 11:16 am

    Wasn’t MFL Kim Barfield on a two part episode of TLC’s Plastic Surgery Disasters a while back? I wonder if she ever got herself fixed.

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