Florida Gov. Announces Election to Fill Alcee Hastings’ Seat

alcee hastings
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019 file photo, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., speaks during a House Rules Committee hearing on the impeachment against President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington. Hastings, the longtime Congressman from Florida has died after a two-year fight with pancreatic cancer. The Palm Beach County Democrat died Tuesday, April 6, 2021, according to his chief of staff, Lale M. Morrison. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A special primary election to fill the seat of the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings will be held in November, followed by a deciding general election two months later, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday.

Hastings, a Democrat from the Fort Lauderdale area, died April 6. He announced two years ago that he had pancreatic cancer.

At least seven Democrats and one Republican have said they will seek to fill the vacancy in the heavily Democratic district. Those looking to take over from Hastings including Jamaican-born Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, a former mentee and longtime friend of Hastings. Another Broward Commissioner, Barbara Sharief announced her candidacy for the seat earlier this year. Florida Senator Perry Thurston and City of Miramar Wayne Messam are expected to contest the seat also.

During a news conference in Miami, DeSantis announced that the primary would be held Nov. 2. Candidates who win their party’s nomination would advance to a general election set for Jan. 11, 2022.

With a slim majority in Congress, there was some urgency among Democrats to fill the vacancy left by Hastings’ death. One candidate recently filed a lawsuit seeking to force DeSantis to schedule the special election.

“I know there will be a lot of folks that want to run for it. So hopefully that gives them enough time to be able to get on the ballot and do whatever they need to do to be competitive,” the governor said.

The 20th Congressional District encompasses much of the Black communities in the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach areas. Hastings won nearly 80% of the vote in November.

Under Florida law, DeSantis was required to call a special election although he has wide discretion as to when.

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