A rematch for HD 35? It’s a seat both parties have their eyes on

keen booth
'We will go to every corner of the district.'

Rep. Tom Keen could get a rematch with Erika Booth, the Republican whom he defeated in the Special Election in January to flip House District 35.

The Orlando Democrat beat Booth with 51% of the vote in the Special Election for the Central Florida district. Some predicted that the win shows the Democrats have a chance to gain ground in Tallahassee. Now, Republicans are investing resources to try and win it back.

“It is not surprising to me that Republicans want to try and take back a district they lost five months ago for the first time in over 30 years,” Keen said in a statement. “However, I am confident that our grassroots effort and focus on important issues will once again resonate with voters, pushing us over the finish line in November.”

Booth said she feels like a November General Election with higher voter turnout will play into her favor. The Special Election in January was also close to the holiday season to keep some voters away, Booth added.

“I haven’t really stopped campaigning,” Booth said Tuesday, adding that she hears from constituents about their concerns over the economy and affordability.

To challenge Keen again, Booth is running with the support of the Republican Party of Florida. Booth received more than $6,000 from the party in April and May, according to campaign finance reports.

But that did not stop Republican Laura Gomez McAdams, a St. Cloud Realtor, from joining the race last week. McAdams will face Booth in the Primary.

McAdams had been running for Booth’s former School Board seat until McAdams withdrew to run for HD 35. Her mostly self-funded School Board campaign raised more than $14,000, which McAdams said she plans to use for her HD 35 campaign.

“We recently lost this seat to a Democrat in the Special Election in January and that went to show just how much our Republican Party constituents were not in support of the candidate against Mr. Keen,” McAdams said in a statement this week. “As Einstein said, and I quote, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.’”

McAdams said she was running as a strong Christian conservative whose biggest priorities included making homeowner’s insurance more affordable, term limiting all elected positions and strengthening parental rights in education.

Meanwhile, Keen said he plans to run a grassroots campaign this November and focus on the same issues he highlighted during the Special Election — the lack of affordable housing insurance and abortion rights. It’s the same strategy he used for the Special Election, said Keen, who is leading in fundraising over his Republican opponents.

“We will go to every corner of the district to talk to voters and focus on the real issues that matter to them. Amendment 4 being on the ballot is proof that Floridians want their voice heard and respected when it comes to reproductive healthcare,” Keen said in a statement, referring to the ballot question to limit government interference on abortion.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704