Two Black candidates are locked in a tight race for Democratic nomination in a Florida special election. Following the death of longtime Democrat Alcee Hastings earlier this year, Floridians living in U.S. Congressional District 20 voted Tuesday (November 2) in the primaries for the vacant seat.
Activist Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness are the top candidates so far, with Cherfilus-McCormick leading by just 31 votes, according to The Washington Post. Reporters say 100% of precincts are reporting as of 10:30 a.m. EST. A recount is happening, Local 10 confirmed.
Multiple Democrats, former politicians, and even activists are competing for the party's nomination. Black candidates included state Sen. Perry E. Thurston Jr., state Rep. Bobby DuBose, state Rep. Omari Hardy, Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, and former Palm Beach County commissioner Priscilla Taylor.
District 20 includes Broward and West Palm Beach counties. Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and multiple cities in the Miami metro area are part of the district.
Hastings passed away on April 6, 2021. The Florida native was a civil rights activist, Fort Lauderdale lawyer, and the dean and co-chairman of the state's congressional delegation. He was also Florida's first Black federal judge following his appointment by then-President Jimmy Carter in 1979.
Jason Mariner is projected to win the Republican primary, reports say. The special election is scheduled for January 11, 2022.