Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick has won the race to represent Florida’s 20th congressional district, filling the seat of late Democratic U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings and boosting the Democrats’ slim majority in the House.
The Miramar lawyer and home health care business owner defeated Republican Jason Mariner Tuesday.
With 147 of 148 precincts reporting in Palm Beach County and 144 out of 150 precincts reporting in Broward County, Cherfilus-McCormick had more than 78% of the vote about an hour after polls closed.
The seat has been vacant since longtime Congressman Alcee Hastings died in April at age 84 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Cherfilus-McCormick had unsuccessfully challenged Hastings in 2018 and 2020.
Cherfilus-McCormick ran largely on a proposal of a guaranteed annual income, which she called the People’s Prosperity Plan, involving sending $1,000 each month to most adults. She also supported the Green New Deal and immigration reform.
A special election drew 11 Democrats including Cherfilus-McCormick, who bested Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness by five votes in the November primary.
The district that stretches across parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties is heavily Democratic, making Tuesday’s results hardly surprising.
Cherfilus-McCormick will have to immediately defend the seat in an August primary and, if she wins, the November general election.
Reclaiming Hastings’ seat will increase the Democrats’ slender House majority to 222-212, leaving room for no more than four Democratic defections as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tries moving her party’s bills through the House. For much of 2021, that margin was three.
There is one other House vacancy: Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes of California left office last week to join a media company run by former President Donald Trump.
Hannah Morse is a reporter covering Palm Beach County. She can be reached at [email protected] or 561-820-4833. Follow her on Twitter at @mannahhorse.
The Associated Press contributed reporting