TALLAHASSEE — More than nine months after the death of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, South Florida voters Tuesday elected Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick to succeed him.
Cherfilus-McCormick, a health-care executive, easily defeated Republican Jason Mariner in the Democratic stronghold of Congressional District 20 in Broward and Palm Beach counties. With all but a handful of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Cherfilus-McCormick had received 78.4 percent of the vote, according to the state Division of Elections website.
“Congratulations to Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick on her resounding victory in South Florida this evening,” U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to welcoming Rep.-elect Cherfilus-McCormick to Congress and working alongside her as we continue to build on the important work Democrats are doing to create a better economy for every American.”
Hastings, a Democrat, died in April at age 84 after serving in Congress since 1992. Cherfilus-McCormick won the Democratic nomination to replace him in an 11-candidate special primary election in November that required recounts because of her narrow margin over former Broward County Mayor Dale Holness.
The open seat created by Hastings’ death led to a political domino effect that included three state lawmakers — Perry Thurston, Bobby DuBose and Omari Hardy — running unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary to replace him. Under state law, Thurston had to resign from the Senate to run and DuBose and Hardy had to resign from their House seats.
Democrat Daryl Campbell, a former legislative assistant to DuBose, won on Tuesday the state House District 94 seat that DuBose vacated. With all precincts reporting, Campbell had nearly 40 percent of the vote in topping three other Democrats, according to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections website. No Republicans ran for the seat.
Meanwhile Tuesday, Broward County School Board member Rosalind Osgood easily won a Democratic primary in Senate District 33, which Thurston vacated. With 164 of 165 precincts reporting, Osgood had received 74 percent of the vote in the primary against Terry Ann Williams Edden, according to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections website.
Osgood will face Republican Joseph Carter in a March 8 special general election.
In the race to replace Hardy in House District 88, Democrat Jervonte “Tae” Edmonds captured 65 percent of the vote in defeating Clarence “Chief” Williams in a Democratic primary, according to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website. Edmonds will face Republican Guarina Torres in the March 8 general election.
Jim Saunders is a reporter for the News Service of Florida